By SCOTT NORTH
MONROE — A Monroe man with a long criminal record was arrested Tuesday in connection with the November killing of Tina M. Wallace, who was last seen leaving a tavern here.
The man, 33, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail in Everett for investigation of first-degree murder. He was already behind bars for a Dec. 12 probation violation arrest, Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Jorgensen said.
No charges have been filed, and the man is scheduled to appear today at an Everett District Court bail hearing.
The man has known for some time that he is a suspect in Wallace’s killing, court papers show. The 39-year-old woman was last seen Nov. 12 leaving the Chopping Block Tavern. Her body was found Nov. 27 along a road south of Monroe.
Detectives with the sheriff’s office and the Monroe Police Department early this month convinced a judge to allow them to search the man’s car and take genetic evidence from his body.
The man 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.
The man first told detectives he left the tavern at about the same time as Wallace. Under additional questioning, he later claimed the pair left for a sexual encounter, according to court papers.
The man changed his story after he voluntarily gave a saliva sample to a Snohomish County sheriff’s detective and was told the sample could be compared with genetic evidence left by Wallace’s killer, documents show.
When detectives showed up Dec. 6 at the trailer where the man was staying, he allegedly said, "I’ve already lied myself into a hole," according to a jail booking report. The document was filed by police Tuesday to establish probable cause for the man’s arrest.
An autopsy showed Wallace died from repeated blows to the head, and that her killer likely had sexually assaulted her, according to court papers.
Human blood was found in the man’s car, and the man’s wife has told police that a bloodstained sweat shirt found near Wallace’s body appears to be one she had previously worn. She said her husband had been wearing that sweat shirt, according to court papers.
Laboratory reports are pending on the blood and other evidence collected in the case, documents show.
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 left behind a 15-year-old daughter, a brother, a sister, a father and other relatives.