A case of a murdered Federal Prosecutor
Thomas Crane Wales
October 11, 2001, at approximately 10:40pm that evening, Thomas was sitting at his computer in his home office when a gunman avoided the security lights in his backyard and shot him in the neck, through a window, with a handgun. The killer left shell casings behind. The shots were heard by a neighbor who called 911 to report the shots.
According to some reports, he was alert when he was transported to the hospital, but died at a hospital the next day.
Thomas was 49 when he was murdered. He had been a federal prosecutor for 18 years at the time of his death. His former wife, former girlfriends and current girlfriend were dismissed as suspects. He prosecuted white collar crime cases for the USA at the time of his death and that suspect pool ran pretty dry.
Some feel the case was not given adequate attention by the FBI who assisted local law enforcement into the investigation of Thomas’s murder. Thomas was murdered only 1 month after 9/11, when most of our nation and it’s law enforcement communities were on high alert over terrorists, potential terrorist attacks not to mention, everyone wanted answers for such a brutal attack on our nation.
A letter which according to the FBI website, was postmarked 1/23/2006, Las Vegas, Nevada was sent to the FBI headquarters in Seattle, WA.
“Re: Thomas C Wales
OK, so I was broke and between jobs I got an anonymous call offering $xxxx to shoot the guy, so I drove to Seattle to do the job. I did not even know his name. Just got laid off from a job. Nice talking lady, I didn’t know her name, she called me, talked to me by name, and asked if I needed some money. I agreed to pursue the matter, hell, I was going bankrupt.
Go to Seattle, heck I lived there once, no big deal. Hang out in this guy’s backyard, she even gave me the address. Stop off at a place, pick up our gun, and drop it off at a specified location when you are done. THEN, you will be directed to where your money is. The wife was out of town, I had no witnesses here, I was curious about who knew me so well. I used cash to pay for all my expenses to avoid an audit trail. No cell phone. I was directed to a place to pick up the gun, they wanted me to use, and an address. The gun was there.
I drove to the address, and then parked some distance away, north of downtown. I kind of camped out in the backyard of this house, and waited for the guy to settle in at his computer. Once he was there, I took careful aim. I shot two or possibly more times, and watched him collapse. I absurdly waited a few minutes and then left. I was sure he was dead. Retracing my steps, I dropped off the gun, found my money, and returned to Vegas. I feel bad about it, but I needed the money, and there were no witnesses. I really don’t know who fronted the money, but the $xxxx was there, and I sure needed it.”
The letter really does not give any details as to who the murderer might be or a real motive. The letter itself as I read it tells me that whoever wrote it is either under the influence or it is someone who lacks maturity. Someone who is prone to act impulsively and carelessly. It does not seem to be an attempt to goad the FBI, neither is it a true confession and it is far from a real apology. It seems like an ill or half-ass attempt to get back at someone without really getting back at them.
The FBI seems to feel that the anonymous letter that was written to them may have been written by someone connected to the murder in some way.
I would agree that whoever wrote it is somehow connected to Thomas’s murder. To me when I read it, it comes across as feminine. What I am saying is, that I am pretty sure the author of the letter is a woman.
This is what they had to say:
“Investigators believe the return address name “Gidget” may be a term the writer has used in other contexts, in the past and present. “Gidget” was the title of a movie and television show in the 1960s. The return address on the envelope is a commercial address in Las Vegas with no apparent connection to the crime.”
Gidget comes from an older way of saying, pretty, petite, small, tomboy type of woman. It is also, aside from being the title of a movie and TV show from the 1960’s, a life path number if you are into that sort of thing.
Gidget is life path number 7
A person with the life path number 7 learns pretty early in life that they have to face a world dominated by material things and money head on without any fear that they could not prevail . They have the ability to recognize and understand their own limitations. 7’s always seem friendly and modest which makes them universally appreciated, but inwardly they are often dissatisfied. Therefore it is important for people with the destiny number 7 to get adequate recognition and acknowledgment from their environment for their actions.
Another meaning just of the name Gidget is a person who is introspective, prophetic, philosophical, and soul searching, but also can be analytical, critical and opinionated. They think deeply and clearly, have an air of mystery, can be solitary and secretive.
What are the leads if any?
Well as I stated earlier, it seems that any lead law enforcement had ran pretty dry. No one had a motive at least as far the investigation lead, for murder. The crime also was not just one of opportunity, like you see in a home invasion, drug deal gone bad etc. It was planned, however the crime was not committed by a contract killer, hence at the scene, shell casings were left behind which is a faux pas for a real hitman. Looking at the lack of clues left by the killer, this murder could easily be classified as the perfect murder.
In 2000 Thomas had obtained an 8-count indictment against Intrex Helicopter, which was run by two men, James Anderson and Kim Powell on charges that included conspiracy to defraud the United States, mail fraud, and making false statements.
The government accused the men of falsifying a helicopter’s maintenance records, and submitting them to the F.A.A., as part of an effort to certify the helicopter for civilian use. The two had renovated a UH-1 copter.
The case as luck would have it fell apart the following year, when the prosecution’s expert witness from the F.A.A. decided that he no longer supported the government’s theory. On June 29, 2001, Thomas was forced to dismiss the indictment against Intrex.
On July 27, 2001, a month after the indictment was dismissed, James Anderson filed a motion against the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under an obscure law called the Hyde Amendment.
The Hyde Amendment allows defendants who have been acquitted in federal court can sue the prosecutors in order to recoup their attorneys’ fees and legal expenses, provided they can show that the case was “vexatious, frivolous or in bad faith.”
Anderson demanded a hundred and twenty-eight thousand dollars. While investigating Anderson, the Government received information from at least 2 people which was indicative of Anderson’s “violent and retributive nature.” The documents pertaining to the case remain under seal, and the identities of the persons referred to in the brief have not been made public. Anderson’s motion was dismissed, and that ruling was upheld on appeal.
Right After 9/11 Thomas again took a public stand for gun control. The idea started to circulate that airline pilots should be allowed to carry weapons.
After that, the case runs pretty dry. The New York times reported that Anderson “remained the only suspect; in 2004, and that the SeattleTimes reported that the F.B.I. had searched Anderson’s home in Beaux Arts and removed twenty-seven boxes of possible evidence. Agents also searched two houses in the nearby city of Bellingham, one where Anderson used to live and one where he used to visit friends. In his former home, a bullet was removed from a wall, for analysis, and a bullet and a shell casing were taken from the friends’ home. The Times quoted two neighbors of Anderson’s in Bellingham who said that they had sometimes seen him fire a handgun into the ground from his back deck. (The Times, citing a policy of not naming criminal suspects, identified Anderson as a pilot who had been unsuccessfully prosecuted by Wales.)”
On the night of the shooting, Anderson and a friend had attended a showing of “2001: A Space Odyssey” at a movie theatre about 10 minutes from Wales’s home, in Queen Anne.
After the shooting, “someone” had made telephone calls from Anderson’s home in Beaux Arts, roughly 20 minutes from Queen Anne.
For Anderson to have committed the murder, he would have had to have had help, a co-conspirator to help fill in things such as the telephone call.
The bullets recovered were .380-calibre bullets which came from a Makarov semi automatic handgun. Ballistics experts in the Washington State Crime Lab and at the F.B.I. did notice some unusual markings on the bullets indicating that they had been fired through a replacement gun barrel.
Anderson, on record does not own a Makarov.
Still, Anderson is the best lead still today, however investigators can’t seem to find anything tying him to the crime.
Unless the author of the letter would care to elaborate on what they wrote, why and who they are trying to get back at or someone confesses, the case may remain the perfect murder.
Cristal M Clark