Monroe killing suspect tested

Herald Writer

MONROE — A 33-year-old Monroe man with a long criminal record is under investigation for the November killing of a woman who was last seen leaving a tavern here.

The man’s car was searched and genetic evidence taken from him last week under a court order after detectives convinced a judge he may be involved in the death of Tina M. Wallace, 39.

The woman’s body was found Nov. 27 along a road south of Monroe. She was last seen Nov. 12 leaving the Chopping Block Tavern in Monroe.

The man police are investigating was seen leaving the tavern at about the same time as Wallace, and he has told police conflicting stories about that night, according to a search warrant affidavit filed Tuesday in Everett District Court.

The man first told detectives that he’d left the tavern at about the same time as Wallace. Under additional questioning, he later claimed the pair had left for a sexual encounter, according to court papers.

The man changed his story after he voluntarily gave a saliva sample to a detective for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The sample could be tested against genetic evidence left by Wallace’s killer, documents show.

An autopsy showed Wallace died from repeated blows to the head and that her killer likely had sexually assaulted her, the search warrant affidavit said.

The man’s wife has told police that a bloodstained sweat shirt found near Wallace’s body appears to be one that she had previously worn. She said her husband had been wearing that sweat shirt, according to court papers.

The woman also admitted that she initially misled investigators about her husband’s whereabouts the night Wallace disappeared and that, in truth, he did not come home that night, court documents say.

The man has felony convictions for second-degree burglary in 1989, escape in 1997 and possession of methaphetamine in July. He also has 16 misdemeanor convictions, including four drunken-driving offenses, four domestic violence assaults and two violations of protection orders.

Wallace’s killing is being investigated by the sheriff’s office and the Monroe Police Department. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Jorgensen said Tuesday she could not discuss the case while the investigation is under way.

Wallace left behind a 15-year-old daughter, a brother, a sister, a father and other relatives.

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