$1.5M Reward Offered in US Attorney Murder Investigation

Rod Rosenstein at a Feb. 21 press conference announcing an increased reward for information leading to the conviction of U.S. Attorney Tom Wales’ killer. [photo credit: CNS/June Williams]

SEATTLE (CN) – Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced additional reward money totaling $1.5 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for murdering federal prosecutor Tom Wales.

At a news conference in Seattle on Wednesday, Rosenstein called the investigation “one of the highest priorities of the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Wales, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Washington, was shot and killed while working in his home on October 11, 2001.

“Tom was murdered by a cowardly killer who shot him through a window late one night as Tom was sitting at his desk at his own home,” Rosenstein said.

The Justice Department will pursue the case “for as long as it takes” to find the killer, Rosenstein said.

He said he hopes the increased reward money of $525,000 provided by the Association of Former United States Attorneys Foundation, will convince someone with information about the crime to come forward. The Justice Department was already offering up to $1 million.

Former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington John McKay said Wales’ murder was a “carefully planned execution.” If the murder was connected to Wales’ work, he will be the first assistant U.S. attorney killed in the line of duty, McKay said.

The FBI focused on a suspect Wales had prosecuted for illegally converting a military helicopter with a group of business partners to sell for civilian use, according to a Seattle Times article in 2012. Charges against the individuals were later dropped and the company paid a fine, the Times said.

McKay said he’s sure “somebody out there has information.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin, who was also a former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, said Wales was “a friend.” One of the first things she did as mayor was request a full briefing on the case.

Tom Wales’ daughter Amy Wales joined law enforcement officials at the podium and lamented the recent attacks on the FBI and Justice Department in “partisan politics.”

Amy Wales said her father never let politics get in the way of his job.

“He saw his own work beyond party consideration,” she said.

A task force led by the FBI and Seattle Police Department continues to investigate the case and has served nearly 50 subpoenas in the last year, according to the Justice Department.

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