Jurors in the murder trial of Tyler Tessier were shocked to learn that the defendant had hanged himself in his jail cell early this morning. The jury had been empaneled and they were set to hear opening arguments in the trial of the man who is charged with killing his girlfriend, Laura Wallen, a pregnant Howard County school teacher and burying her body.
The Washington Post says that Tessier, who has been housed in Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg for the last year was awakened for court around 4 a.m. this morning, and was seen alive at 4:36 a.m. But by 4:55 a.m. Tessier had hanged himself in his cell using bedsheets attached to the upper bunk.
A corrections officer attempted CPR to no avail, and Tessier was pronounced dead at 5:32 a.m.
Last year, Tyler Tessier reported Wallen missing and made a public statement asking for her to come back.
“Laura, if you’re listening, it doesn’t matter what’s happened. There’s nothing we can’t fix together.”
At that point, the police were already onto him and charged him with killing the pregnant Laura Wallen by shooting her in the head and then burying her on a remote piece of land in Damascus, MD.
LIVE: Update on the death of Tyler Tessier who was found hanging in his jail cell this morning. Tessier was set to begin trial today in the murder of his girlfriend Laura Wallen, a Howard County teacher. https://t.co/OFELbETPFY pic.twitter.com/KOnW3yjV0g
— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) September 6, 2018
Prosecutors John McCarthy, Donna Fenton, and Mary Herdman were ready to prove that Tyler Tessier killed the pregnant Wallen to keep his double life from being exposed.
“The state will put forth evidence that in the days before Ms. Wallen’s murder, the defendant knew that the two lives he was living were about to collide.”
Tessier was engaged at the time to another woman. When Wallen’s body was found, Tessier changed his story and said that he and Wallen had been kidnapped.
“After initial denials, the defendant stated he and Ms. Wallen had been kidnapped by several African American men in Olney at Ms. Wallen’s home, and they were forced to drive to the field in Damascus in the defendant’s vehicle, where the men proceeded to shoot Ms. Wallen. The defendant stated his life was spared because he pleaded with the men.”
The local CBS station said that Tessier was not on suicide watch, yet he was found dead in his cell with a note.
Judge Michael Mason broke the news to the jury who showed up this morning to hear opening statements.
“There is no easy way to tell you this, but the defendant was found dead in his cell.”
Authorities confirm that a series of notes were found in Tessier’s cell to support the suicide theory, but the contents have not been revealed.