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Murder suspect won’t face charges for death of victim’s unborn child

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4K5A4219 1Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy holds a press conference with Assistant State’s Attorneys Donna Fenton (left) and Mary Herdman (right) on the indictment of Tyler Tessier in the murder of Laura Wallen. PHOTO BY GLYNIS KAZANJIAN  

A grand jury has indicted Tyler Tessier on one count of murder in the homicide of his pregnant girlfriend Laura Wallen, but Tessier cannot be charged for the death of her unborn child due to Maryland law, according to State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

After finding the body of Laura Wallen in a shallow grave in Damascus, police arrested Tyler Tessier later that same day on Sept. 13 on charges of first-degree murder, altering physical evidence and making a false statement to an officer. While a grand jury indicted Tessier on one count of murder last Thursday, he will not be charged with the death of Wallen’s unborn child due to state law, McCarthy said at a press conference in Rockville on Friday.

“Her child was autopsied,” McCarthy said. “A medical team established at the time of Ms. Wallen’s murder the child was 14 weeks old. Based on medical testimony, the child was not viable independent of Ms. Wallen. Based on those medical findings, and as a matter of law in Maryland, as a result the defendant is not chargeable with a second count of murder related to the child.”

McCarthy confirmed Wallen died from a gunshot wound to the back of her head. Wallen, a 31-year-old high school teacher from Olney, was four months pregnant at the time of her death, according to online court records.

Tessier, 33, could face a maximum penalty of life in prison, but prosecutors will consider the unborn child and could ask the judge to consider life in prison without the possibility of parole, McCarthy said.

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Slain high school teacher's boyfriend indicted with murder

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tessier Montgomery County PDTyler Tessier. FILE PHOTO On Thursday, a grand jury indicted Tyler Tessier, 33, on one count of murder in the homicide of his pregnant girlfriend Laura Wallen,

Police arrested Tessier Sept. 13 on charges of first-degree murder, altering physical evidence and making a false statement to an officer. A court hearing is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 20 at 8:30 a.m. in the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville.

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Prosecutors consider additional charges in Wallen murder

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wallenLaura Elizabeth Wallen   FILE PHOTO  

Prosecutors in the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office are determining whether a 33-year-old Damascus man charged with killing his girlfriend Labor Day weekend can also be charged with killing the woman’s unborn child.

Olney resident Laura Elizabeth Wallen, 31, was four months pregnant when she was killed, family members said.   The Damascus man accused of her murder, Tyler Tessier, 33, is believed to be the father.

Montgomery County Police charged Tessier Sept. 13 with the first-degree murder of Wallen. If Tessier is found guilty, he could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. However, the Montgomery County state prosecutor's office has not ruled out requesting a sentence that would allow for consideration of parole. 

"We have not made that decision yet," Korionoff said. 

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Missing Olney woman found dead, boyfriend charged with her murder

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wallenPolice have found the body of Laura Wallen, who had gone missing over the Labor Day weekend, in a shallow grave in Damascus. COURTESY PHOTO   

UPDATED 9/13/2017 AT 8:55 P.M. — Laura Elizabeth Wallen, 31, of Olney, has been found dead, and her boyfriend has been arrested in connection with her murder.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger held a press conference at Police Headquarters to announce that Wallen’s body was found by police in a shallow grave on a plot of land on Prices Distillery Road in Damascus. Today at 5:30 p.m., police arrested Wallen’s boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, on the charge of first-degree murder and other related charges.

Police had information from local witnesses that Tessier had been frequenting the area where Wallen’s body was found in Damascus.

The last text communication that came in from Wallen's cellphone was to family members on Monday, Sept. 4 around 9:00 a.m. 

"It was troubling enough for family to call police," County Police Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti said.

Police now believe that text on Monday morning was from Tessier, using Wallen’s cellphone and attempting to impersonate her. Police believe she was killed on Sunday, Sept. 3, according to Chief Manger.

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