On 10th Anniversary Of Murder, FBI Seeks New Clues

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Amy Wales and her brother Tom gave a press conference on the fifth anniversary of their father's murder in 2006. They haven't given up on finding their father's murderer, and are working with the FBI. Amy says of the murderer: "He should not be free to roam." i i

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Amy Wales and her brother Tom gave a press conference on the fifth anniversary of their father's murder in 2006. They haven't given up on finding their father's murderer, and are working with the FBI. Amy says of the murderer: "He should not be free to roam."

John Froschauer/AP
Amy Wales and her brother Tom gave a press conference on the fifth anniversary of their father's murder in 2006. They haven't given up on finding their father's murderer, and are working with the FBI. Amy says of the murderer: "He should not be free to roam."

Amy Wales and her brother Tom gave a press conference on the fifth anniversary of their father's murder in 2006. They haven't given up on finding their father's murderer, and are working with the FBI. Amy says of the murderer: "He should not be free to roam."

John Froschauer/AP

The Justice Department is focusing new attention on the decade-old murder of a federal prosecutor in Seattle.

Tom Wales was killed in his home in 2001, one month to the day after Sept. 11. The case remains unsolved.

But a new public information campaign is designed to bring in new leads.

The Murder

On an overcast fall morning, Amy Wales returns to the home she grew up in on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill.

"The cherry tree in front of the house — I remember when my father planted it. It was so small," she says.

For Wales, now 32, this 1905 two-story house is a place of fond childhood memories. But it's also the scene of what she calls the violent dismantling of the life she knew. On Oct. 11, 2001, her father Tom, an assistant U.S. attorney, was home alone working at a computer in his basement office. Shortly before 11 p.m., shots rang out.

"It is my understanding that the assailant was in the backyard perched above the window and able to shoot down into the basement," Wales says.

Tom Wales, a federal prosecutor and gun control advocate, was murdered in his home on Oct. 11, 2001. There have been no arrests in the case — but the Justice Department is still seeking leads.

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Tom Wales, a federal prosecutor and gun control advocate, was murdered in his home on Oct. 11, 2001. There have been no arrests in the case — but the Justice Department is still seeking leads.

FBI

If killed because of his work, Wales would be the first federal prosecutor murdered in the line of duty as far as anyone can recall. There's also the possibility he was targeted because of his public advocacy of gun control. Whatever the motive, Amy Wales calls the murder of her father "calculated" and "brutal."

"No one deserves this," she says. "And the person is out there, and he should not be free to roam."

An Attack On The Rule Of Law

Over the years, attention focused on an airline pilot Wales attempted to prosecute in a fraud case. But a decade later, there have been no arrests in the case. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came to Seattle recently to announce a new media campaign, including TV and radio ads featuring Amy Wales and her brother.

"Although this case remains unsolved and Tom's killer remains unknown, our resolve to uncover the truth has never been stronger," Holder said.

Holder's presence in Seattle was welcomed by those close to the case — including some who feel top officials in Washington, D.C., should have done more over the years. These critics include former U.S. Attorney John McKay, who calls the murder of Tom Wales an attack on the rule of law.

"To kill a federal prosecutor, that is a very, very troubling thing, and we can't allow that to stand in our country," McKay says.

The Campaign

Amy and Tom Wales, whose father was killed 10 years ago on Oct. 11, ask viewers for information leading to the arrest of their father's murderer. The information also carries a $1 million reward.

YouTube

But McKay says that during his term as U.S. attorney for western Washington, he had to fight for the attention he thought the case deserved.

"It did not seem to be a national priority in either the Justice Department or the FBI," he says.

McKay, a Republican, was later one of eight U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration. The FBI notes that the murder came in the wake of Sept. 11 and the anthrax attacks. Today, a full-time task force continues to work the case.

Greg Fowler, the FBI inspector who supervises the investigation, says that with this 10th anniversary it may now be easier for someone with information to come forward.

"Particularly for those who were involved or may have more intimate knowledge of the murder — time changes relationships, time changes loyalty," he says.

Amy Wales is more blunt.

"We know that there are people who have information, and there are some people who are very afraid to come forward and share that information," she says.

A new FBI Web page dedicated to the case features a photograph of the type of handgun used in the murder — a Makarov semi-automatic with an aftermarket barrel. A $1 million reward remains in the case.

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