The Department of Justice has doubled its reward to solve the 2001 slaying of a federal prosecutor in his Seattle home, bringing the total to $2.5 million.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Monday the agency’s doubled reward of $1 million in the fatal shooting of Assistant US Attorney Thomas Crane Wales is in addition to $500,000 from the National Association of Former US Attorneys.
Wales, a 49-year-old veteran prosecutor, worked in the Western District of Washington for 18 years. He was fatally shot on Oct. 11, 2001, by a gunman who snuck into his backyard and fired at least four shots through a basement window as he wrote an email, the Seattle Times reported. He later died at a hospital.
“Although two decades have passed, the Department of Justice remains committed to this investigation,” Monaco said. “Somebody knows something about this murder, and we want to do everything we can to encourage them to come forward now.”
After initially focusing on a commercial airline pilot who Wales unsuccessfully prosecuted for fraud in 2000, the FBI believes it identified the man who shot Wales, the Seattle Times reported.
Sources told the newspaper Sunday FBI investigators think a low-level drug dealer from Everett shot Wales during a hit to pay off a drug debt.
FBI agents were pursuing evidence that a Mexican drug cartel recruited the airline pilot who had been smuggling drugs for the criminal enterprise to carry out the contract killing. The airline pilot, who now lives in Delaware, did not return messages left on his cellphone, the newspaper reported Sunday.
The US Airways pilot, identified in reports as James Anderson, has never spoken to the FBI about the case, but his attorney insisted to the New Yorker in 2007 that he was not involved.
“He is an innocent man and an honest man,” attorney Larry Setchell told the New Yorker at the time. “Tom Wales was liked by everyone, including us. He did the right thing in our case by dismissing it. We were not mad at him.”
If Wales’ slaying was connected to his job, it would mark the first line-of-duty murder of a federal prosecutor in US history, according to the Seattle Times.
“It has been reported that a lone male suspect was seen fleeing the scene,” FBI officials said in a poster seeking info on the white-collar crime prosecutor’s slaying.
Anyone with information about Wales’ murder should contact the FBI at (206) 622-0460 or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.