Prosecutors Will Not Charge Tessier With Murder of Unborn Child
After Thursday’s afternoon’s announcement of a Grand Jury indictment of murder against Tyler Tessier in connection with the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Howard County high school teacher, Laura Wallen. Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy addressed the media on Friday morning and explained that there would be no second count of murder for the death of the unborn child.
Tyler Tessier, 33, a resident of Damascus, was indicted on one count of murder in the death of Laura Elizabeth Wallen, age 31, a resident of Olney. The victim was four-months pregnant. He is being held without bond at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg.
Speaking to the media in the lobby of the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, McCarthy said, “The maximum penalty for the offense for which Mr. Tessier is charged is life in prison. There is the possibility of the State seeking a sentence of Life without the possibility of parole.”
“Many have asked about the fact that this woman was four-months pregnant at the time of her death,” said McCarthy. “Her child was autopsied. The medical staff established that at the time of her murder the child was 14-weeks old, based on medical testimony the child was not viable independent of Ms. Wallen. Based on the medical findings and it is a matter of law in Maryland, as a result the defendant is not chargeable with a second count of murder related to the child.”
Maryland Law states in section 20-209 (a) of the MD Code, Health titled State interference with abortion that, “’viable’ means that stage when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus's sustained survival outside the womb.”
In section 4-213 (a) Maryland Law states that a certificate of death should be filed “if a fetal death occurs after a gestation period of 20 weeks or more.”
McCarthy said that a trial date would be set during a status conference with Judge Cheryl A. McCally which is scheduled for next Friday, Oct. 20. He said that his office anticipates a trial date to be set for approximately four months, which puts it beginning sometime in February 2018, however, there is always the chance that the trial date may be pushed back.
He also said that no more individuals would be charged in connection with this case.
The case began back on September 3 when Wallen’s sister reported her missing. Police became very concerned when Wallen, who had been named Teacher of the Year in Howard County did not report for work on the first day of school on September 5 at Wilde Lake High School, and did not arrange for a substitute.
Nine days later, after her vehicle was found in Columbia, and her identification was also found near the vehicle, and police held a press conference on Sept. 11 with Wallen’s parents and then boyfriend and now accused killer Tyler Tessier. Her body was found in a field in Damascus on Wednesday, Sept.13 and Tessier was arrested and charged with her murder.
“The break, in this case, came when it was determined that Tessier made several trips to an acquaintance’s property on Price’s Distillery Road in Damascus,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas J. Manger at a press conference in September. “Investigators showed up there with a search warrant for the property which was a dwelling along with open fields and woods. During the search, the team observed tire tracks on a nearby property. They observed freshly dug ground on the (nearby) property, which was some distance from the property they were originally searching. Detectives spoke to the owner of the property where the ground had been disturbed, and we were able to recover the victim’s body.”
An autopsy report found that Wallen had been shot in the back of the head. Tessier is being held without bond at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg.
Top: Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, and Deputy Chief Prosecutors Donna Fenton and Mary Herdman addressing the media on Friday morning after the indictment of Tyler Tessier was announced.
Video: State’s Attorney John McCarthy addressed the media.
Next: The fields behind the address on Prices Distillery Road in Damascus where they body of Laura Wallen was discovered on Wednesday by Montgomery County Police detectives.
Next: Tyler Tessier, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend, Laura Wallen. Photo courtesy MCPD.
Next: Laura Wallen, was 31-years-old and worked as a high school teacher at Wilde Lake High School in Howard County. Photo courtesy MCPD.
Photos and video by Germantown Pulse.