WASHINGTON — Tyler Tessier, the man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend, was a “psychopath” and left behind notes hinting at his suicide, the Montgomery County state’s attorney said Thursday — hours after Tessier hanged himself in his jail cell.
During an afternoon news conference, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said that Thursday’s scheduled start of opening arguments in Tessier’s murder trial “would have been a reckoning.”
“We were robbed this morning of the opportunity to allow the public to know the true nature and details of this crime,” McCarthy said of Laura Wallen’s killing.
Tessier was accused of first-degree murder in the death of Wallen, a Howard County teacher who had disappeared in September of last year. The pair were engaged. Wallen was four months pregnant with Tessier’s child when she was shot in the back of the head.
Tessier’s body was found just before 5 a.m. Thursday in his cell at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg. Warden Susan Malagari said Tessier hanged himself with a bedsheet hours before opening arguments were set to start in the case.
The Damascus, Maryland, man left behind notes indicating that he had been contemplating suicide, said McCarthy. The prosecutor would not elaborate, citing the ongoing death investigation.
McCarthy and his colleagues shared with reporters some of the evidence he would have told the jury Thursday afternoon.
He said Tessier carried on a dual relationship with two women — one for 10 years, the other for seven years — and that Tessier was “lying to virtually every single person in his life.”
“To Tyler Tessier, lying was like breathing,” McCarthy said. “He lied about everything. … There are so many stories, so many lies, and so many changes to what he said happened in this case.
“It’s impossible to catalog all the lies and to all the people to whom in fact he did lie to maintain this dual existence, this dual relationship with two women in particular but others as well.”
There were “collateral victims” through the years, McCarthy said, including the other woman with whom Tessier engaged when Wallen was killed.
The prosecutor recounted Tessier’s reaction when that woman told him that a suspicious Wallen had sent her a text message, “looking for an explanation … woman-to-woman.”
Tessier, the prosecutor said, sent a text message to that woman shortly before Wallen was killed, reading: “I could literally kill her for what she’s done.”
McCarthy also detailed a conversation days after Wallen’s killing, in which Tessier and some friends discussed someone in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend. “If we kill him … there’s lots of fields where bodies can be buried in Montgomery County,” Tessier said, according to McCarthy.
Also at the news conference was the victim’s family.
“Our daughter, Laura was love and light,” said father Mark Wallen. ” … It has been a very difficult year for our entire family.”
Choking back tears, sister Jen Kadi said she had been “looking forward to experiencing the incredible journey of motherhood” with her.
And brother-in-law John Kadi told reporters that for 10 years, Tessier had never shown up for any important family events like birthdays, anniversaries or holidays.
“He stood our family up for the last time today,” Kadi said.
See video from Thursday’s news conference below.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with the correct spelling of Jen and John Kadi’s last name.
WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.