More than ten detectives still work the Tom Wales homicide case fulltime. But is there still hope of solving the 2001 murder of the federal prosecutor

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Tom's Murder

Prime suspect but no end to Wales probe.

More than ten detectives still work the Tom Wales homicide case fulltime. But is there still hope of solving the 2001 murder of the federal prosecutor at his Queen Anne hilltop home? "If you investigate somebody for five years and you haven't closed the deal, you have to draw inferences from that..." a law enforcement official tells writer Jeffrey Toobin, who reports on Wales' murder this week in The New Yorker. The slaying is a backdrop to the ouster of U.S. Attorney John McKay, one of nine USAs dismissed by the Bush administration, apparently for political reasons, leading to a move to impeach U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (see item below).

McKay has theorized he was ousted perhaps because he failed to satisfy Republicans with his review of possible voter fraud in the 2004 Gregoire-Rossi gubernatorial election. But McKay's complaints about the lack of enthusiam by the feds, particularly by the FBI, in going all out to investigate the Wales killing may have also raised GOP hackles; it was clear to some that the FBI/GOP didn't consider the slaying a priority because Wales had a liberal's view of gun control, as the leader of Washington CeaseFire. Ex-special-agent-in-charge here, Charles Mandigo, says "we got no backfill from headquarters - that is, additional agents. In other major cases that headquarters really cared about, they'd say, ‘You're not going to bleed resources, and you'll get all the backfill you need.'"

Mandigo and others also talk about their long investigation of chief suspect James Anderson , the ex-U.S. Airways pilot from Beaux Arts - the village near Bellevue - who has been often written about but never named in the Seattle Times. His attorney, Larry Setchell, said Anderson "is an innocent man and an honest man. 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." The attorney also denies Anderson wrote an unsigned 2006 "hit man" letter, confessing to a contract killing of Wales. In a current divorce proceeding here, Anderson's estranged wife Andrea delcared her husband "has been and continues to be the chief murder suspect in the Thomas Wales investigation," and she has also testified before a grand jury. James Anderson, in a divorce-court response, says "I am not going to comment on the ‘FBI' material as it is not relevant to this case." 

Says one investigator to Toobin: "This may be as close as you come to a perfect murder."

 
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