WASHINGTON — Lawyers for a man charged with shooting and killing his pregnant girlfriend in 2017 want a judge to suppress what he told detectives.
Tyler Tessier, was charged with first degree murder in the death of his pregnant girlfriend, Laura Wallen, a teacher in Howard County.
In a motion to suppress statements and evidence, Tessier’s co-counsel and public defender Allen Wolf said Montgomery County detectives violated Tessier’s Constitutional rights by continuing to ask him questions without his lawyer present after Tessier said he wanted to speak to his attorney.
Wallen, a teacher in Howard County, was shot in the head and found in a shallow grave in the northern part of Montgomery County.
According to Tessier’s attorney, the interview on Sept. 13, 2017, came after he had been arrested. Wolf said Tessier became a person of interest soon after Wallen disappeared Sept. 4, and he was interviewed several times at a police station and at a Dunkin’ Donuts.
Wolf said police were aware that Tessier was represented by an attorney because they had talked with his lawyer before the Sept. 13 interview.
Wolf wrote that the police response to Tessier’s request for counsel “was first to ignore it, and second to talk him out of it.”
The public defender said detectives attempted to entice Tessier to answer questions by telling him at least one officer had been sympathetic to his plight, even after he said he didn’t want to answer more questions.
In the motion, an officer identified as “Detective 1” said: “We have some witnesses on your side saying that Laura was stalking you — she was crazy. Take a deep breath and calm down.”
It is unclear whether police actually had any witnesses suggesting Wallen was stalking Tessier because detectives are allowed to lie to suspects about statements made by other people during questioning.
According to Wolf’s motion, the detective questioning him said another officer had offered that “Tyler may have reacted in self-defense. Tyler may have been trying to save something from happening to,” another girlfriend who Tessier was living with at the time of the murder.
Wolf argued that by suggesting “a reasonable explanation that an accident occurred, or that he felt in fear of his life, being stalked,” detectives kept Tessier talking far beyond the time he asked “can I talk to my lawyer, please?”
Eventually, Tessier told detectives, “I am more than willing to tell you everything you want to know.”
After that statement, detectives read Tessier his Miranda rights.
“The detectives’ exhortations to Mr. Tessier to take a final attempt to help himself were misleading, and in fact, led to a series of incriminating statements which were not at all helpful to him,” Wolf wrote.
Prosecutors have yet to file a motion opposed to Wolf’s motion to suppress his statements from Sept. 13.
Tessier’s 10-day trial is now scheduled for Sept. 4.
If convicted, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy’s office has said they will seek life with no chance of parole.
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