In what may be a break in the 18-year-old investigation into the shooting death of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales in 2001, federal prosecutors have charged an Everett woman with obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury about her knowledge of statements made by a suspect in the killing.
An indictment handed up by a grand jury in June and unsealed Tuesday charges Shawna Reid with making a false declaration before a grand jury in February 2018 and thereby obstructing the investigation into the long-unsolved homicide of Wales. While the indictment does not mention Wales by name, two sources familiar with the investigation confirmed the charges involve the prosecutor, who was gunned down in the basement of his Queen Anne home on Oct. 11, 2001.
The indictment was signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Clymer, who has been the special prosecutor on the Wales case since 2002. It is the first indictment handed up in connection with the killing and is the result of a massive, ongoing 18-year investigation into the slaying that has been a top priority of the FBI and Department of Justice.
Reid was arrested Tuesday and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michelle Peterson, where she pleaded not guilty and was released on her own recognizance, said her lawyer, Kevin Peck.
Peck said he could not comment on whether the indictment was related to the Wales investigation. “It’s not a topic I’m at liberty to discuss,” he said.
Peck said Reid looked forward to proving her innocence.
Department of Justice spokesman Peter Carr said he could not comment on the indictment.
Wales, 49, who worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, was shot several times while sitting at a computer in his basement about 10:40 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2001.
Since early in the case, the FBI focused its investigation on an airline pilot whom Wales had prosecuted.
No charge has been brought, despite a reward of up to $1.5 million, several searches of homes where the pilot lived in the Bellevue area and Snohomish, a nationwide effort to trace a unique gun barrel used to kill Wales, and an exploration into every corner of the pilot’s life.
The indictment states Reid was involved in the following exchange with prosecutors:
Q: “In your first interview did you say to the FBI that [Suspect #1] bragged to you about [Suspect #1] involvement in the murder of a, quote, judge or attorney that lives on top of a hill, end quote.”
Reid answered, “No.”
Question by prosecutor: “In your first interview did you say to the FBI that [Suspect #1] bragged that the murder victim was someone of importance, like a judge or an attorney general?”
Reid answered, “No” again.
The indictment does not name “Suspect #1.” It alleges that in truth, Reid “well knew when she testified before the grand jury, she had told the FBI agent … in that first interview on Aug. 23, 2017, that Suspect #1 had bragged to her about Suspect #1’s involvement in the murder of a judge or lawyer, that lives on top of a hill, and also stated several times that Suspect #1 had called the victim an ‘attorney general.’”
If it turns out the killing was related to Wales’ work as a U.S. attorney, he will have been the first federal prosecutor killed in the line of duty in the nation’s history.
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