The father of a woman who was killed while she was pregnant is working to change the homicide law in the state of Maryland.
Laura Wallen, 31, was found in September 2017 after being missing for nine days. Police said she was shot in the back of her head by her boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, 32.
Wallen was 13 weeks pregnant when she was killed, but Tessier could only be charged in her death and not the death of the fetus. Under Maryland law, she would have to be at least 24 weeks pregnant for prosecutors to charge Tessier with two counts of murder.
“We hoped that she was somehow missing,” said Mark Wallen, Laura’s father. “We hoped that somehow she was being held hostage somewhere.”
Prior to his arrest, Tessier appeared with Wallen’s parents at a press conference during the woman’s disappearance. Police suspected Tessier killed Wallen, and they arranged for him to sit down with her parents so investigators could analyze Tessier’s behavior.
When asked how he restrained himself during the press conference, Mark Wallen said, “I was convinced if I gave any sort of a negative vibration that it would impact him not being present on camera.”
Mark Wallen is proposing a new law called “Laura and Reid’s Law” after his daughter and unborn baby. It would allow prosecutors to charge suspects with murder, regardless of an unborn child’s age.
“Hopefully give murdering husbands and boyfriends a second thought at what they’re doing,” Mark Wallen said.
The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Justin Ready (R-District 5) and state Del. Trent Kittleman (R-District 9A). It will be presented and discussed in the Maryland House and Senate sometime in the 2018 legislative session.
Tessier is being held without bond. A trial date is set for April.