IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
STATE OF MARYLAND
Criminal Number: 132559-C
TYLER LEWIS TESSIER,
MOTION IN LIMINE REQUEST FOR JURY TO VIEW BURIAL LOCATION.
SURROUNDING AREA AND RELEVANT EQUIPMENT
COMES NOW, the State of Maryland, by and through John J. McCarthy, State's
"Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, and Donna S. enton and Mary C. Herdman,
pitigi?gssistant State?s Attorneys for Montgomery County, Maryland, and requests that the jury be
to View the area surrounding the spot where the body of Laura Wallen was recovered
and the surrounding area. The State asserts that this is the location the defendant took Ms.
Wallen to, the evening of Saturday, September, 2, 2018, and the location they returned to on
Sunday, September 3, 2018, where Ms. Wallen was murdered and buried. ?The remoteness of
this area and the topography of the location is such that the jury must see this ?eld in person in
order to render an appropriate verdict in this case. This ?eld sits approximately one mile from
the home and business of a close friend, Kris Stiles who owns KS Kuts. KS Kuts, an animal
processing facility, houses a skid loader which the State asserts the defendant used to bury the
body of Ms. Wallen, a dumpster where the front license plate of Ms. Wallen?s car was
discovered and a shed where it is believed one of the murder weapons was kept with easy access
to those aware of its location. It is essential for the jury to see the skid loader and location of
both the skid loader and the dumpster and shed in order to make the appropriate verdict in this
THE COURT HAS THE SOUND DISCRETION TO ALLOW VIEWING
There is no Maryland criminal rule regarding ?views? of particular scenes, however Md.
Rule 2?5 15 does permit and describe how a view can occur in a civil trial. Rule 2?5 15 states,
?The court, may on any motion or on its own initiative order that the trier of fact View any
property that is involved in the litigation or any place where a material fact in issue occurred.
The judge shall be present at and shall supervise the View and shall be the only person permitted
to make any statement to the jury during the View.? The trial court?s decision to permit a jury to
view the premises where criminal activity allegedly occurred is ?a matter resting in [judge?s]
sound discretion.? United States v. Gadsden, 215 Fed.Appx. 283, 286 (4th Cir. 2007). See also
People v. Price, 1 Cal.4th 324, 422 (1991) (holding that the standard of review for a trial court?s
decision to grant or deny a request for a jury View is abuse of discretion). Maryland lacks case
law that outlines factors for the sound discretion standard but other states have expanded on this.
notion. Under New York Criminal Procedure Law 270.50 when the court is of the opinion that
a viewing or observation by the jury of the premises or place where an offense on trial was
allegedly committed, or bf any other premises or place involved in the case, will be helpful to the
jury in determining any material factual issue, it may in its discretion, at any before the
commencement of the summations, order that the jury be conducted to such premises or place for
such purpose in accordance with the provisions of this section (emphasis added).
In this case, the Court should use its ?sound discretion? to allow the jury to be taken to
this location in Damascus, Montgomery County, Maryland. There are many reasons for the
First, Ms. Wallen?s body was discovered approximately a half mile off of Price?s
Distillery Road, back a driveway, and off road down a large hill, to a far corner of a grassy ?eld.
This property is adjacent and to the rear of the property of Kris Stiles and KS Kuts and is owned
by a neighbor, Mary Lu Leishure. To access this location, one would need to travel down Price?s
Distillery Road to the driveway of Ms. Leishure, and turn right into the driveway.
Approximately 200 yards up the driveway, one then needs to turn to the right and proceed ?off
road? up a large hill and curved path. Once the apex of the hill is reached, one must then
continue down the hill, still ?off road? to the location where Ms. Wallen?s body is recovered.
The remote area of this burial site is essential to the State?s evidence to prove the defendant
committed ?rst degree murder. Only one with an intimate knowledge of this area would be able
to ?nd this location. This area would not be found by happenstance. The State asserts the
defendant had intimate knowledge of these ?elds, how they were accessed, the remoteness of the
far corner and the fact that the ?hill? provided coverage from any witnesses observing his
actions. From the burial site, due to the complicated topography of the ?eld, one cannot see any
residence, any structure, or any roads. It is essential for the jury to view this location in person in
order to truly appreciate the distance the defendant had to travel to reach this location. Video
and photography is not ineffective to show this area to the jury. The jury must see this area in
person to conclude the calculated plan the defendant devised to reach this burial site. An ariel
photograph of these relevant locations is attached as State?s Exhibit No. l.
The jury must also see this location in person to see the location where Laura Wallen was
taken the night of Saturday, September 2, 2017. On that night, the defendant and Ms. Wallen
were together on a ?date.? It is the State?s belief that the defendant took Ms. Wallen to this
precise location as a ?surprise? to show her where they would buy land and build a house. On
that date, the weather was rainy and misty. While sitting in the green Ford truck owned by Kris
Stiles and used by the defendant, Ms. Wallen was texting with her sister, Jennifer Wallen Kadi.
In these texts, Ms. Wallen tells her sister she is on an ?adventure? but that she does not know
where she is. She believes she is in Frederick County. Ms. Wallen tells her sister that the
defendant is out of the truck, on the phone with ?mystery men.? Mrs. Kadi tells Ms. Wallen to
take a picture. At that point, Ms. Wallen texts a photograph of her location to her sister. This
photograph is attached as State?s Exhibit No. 2. The Court will see this photograph depicts a
grassy ?eld and tree line. The tree line is distinctive as it has a small uniquely shaped tree at the
center point of the photograph, pointing up hill. The State asserts that this particular tree line and
specific tree are present and easily recognizable today. This must be seen by the jury in person
to understand exactly that Ms. Wallen was physically at the location where her body was found
eleven days later. Ms. Wallen apparently told the defendant about her text conversation with her
sister. Several minutes after Ms. Wallen sent Mrs. Kadi the photograph of the ?eld, the
defendant himself texted Mrs. Kai. There was a text exchange wherein the defendant asked Mrs.
Kadi if she was nervous for her sister. Mrs. Kadi replied she was. The defendant then sent Mrs.
Kadi a photograph of Ms. Wallen, seated in the front seat of the truck owned by Kris Stiles and
used by the defendant. The photograph sent by the defendant to Mrs. Kadi is attached as State?s
Exhibit No. 3. In this photograph, one is able to see where the defendant?s truck was with the
treeline next to the burial location visible. The jury must see this area in person to match the
photographs taken Saturday, September 2, 2017, and compare to how the burial site looked on
the day Ms. Wallen?s body was recovered and how the ?eld still appears, to understand the
premeditated intent of the defendant. It is the State?s belief that the defendant may have intended
to murder Ms. Wallen Saturday night, but due to the intervening text conversations with Mrs.
Kadi, did not carry out his plan that night and instead waited until the following day when he
returned to that location and shot and killed Ms. Wallen.
Next, the State requests the Court be taken to the farm of Kris Stiles and KS Kuts. At
this farm, there is a skid loader, a large piece of equipment that the State asserts was used to bury
Ms. Wallen. Due to the size of this machine, it is impossible to bring this item to Court to be
viewed by the jury. The State asserts the defendant had open access to this machine, knew how
to operate it as he had used it numerous times in the past, and knew the skid loader would be able
to access the location where Ms. Wallen?s body was buried. The State will be introducing
numerous photographs of tracks recovered at the burial site and measurements of the skid loader
taken by Montgomery County Police Forensic Services Section. The State would like the jury to
see this machine and note that it does not ?dig? per se, but best moves dirt and can dig a shallow
hole by pushing the dirt. Ms. Wallen was not buried in a deep grave and based on the track
markings, it is believed the defendant used the skid loader to make a grave and bury Ms. Wallen.
There is also a very small shOp on the property where customers bring their animals for
processing. In this small outbuilding, there is a shelf about 6 feet off the ground. A small 22
caliber ri?e was kept on that shelf for the employees of KS Cuts to kill animals. This weapon
was recovered by the State back at that location. It cannot be excluded as the weapon used to
murder Ms. Wallen. The jury must see how easily accessible this weapon was to one who is
familiar with the shop and business.
Finally, there is a dumpster on the property of KS Kuts. On the day Ms. Wallen?s body
was recovered, a search warrant was executed on the property. During the search of this
dumpster, the front license plate from the vehicle of Ms. Wallen was recovered. There will be
testimony about the fact that Kris Stiles failed to put the trash out that week for pick up and thus
the trash from the week following Ms. Wallen?s disappearance was still in the dumpster. The
State would like to point out to the jury where speci?cally the dumpster was located at KS Kuts
to show where the property of Ms. Wallen was discovered, miles from her home, and miles from
where her car was found on September 7, 2017. The defendant has stated that he removed the
license plate from Ms. Wallen?s car and had disposed of it at the location where the car was
taken in Columbia, Maryland. However, the plate was found on the property of KS Cuts.
Seeing the dumpster?s location will be an important factor for the jury to consider when
determining the defendant?s intent to commit ?rst degree murder and cover up for his actions in
the days following Ms. Wallen?s murder.
PLAN ACCOMPLISH SITE VISIT
There are many things to consider in planning the site visit by a jury. In this case, the
State has had discussions 'with Sheriff Darren Popkin, Captain John Bean and Captain Maxwell
Uy of the Montgomery County Sheriff?s Of?ce. All assure the State they will be able to
transport the defendant and the jury to the site for a viewing. An initial site visit was held on
Thursday, August 9, 2018 with the Montgomery County Sheriff?s Of?ce. A planning meeting
was held on Thursday, September 16, 2018, to discuss logistics. Sheriff Popkin has informed the
State they will be able to transport the jurors in several four wheel drive vehicle to the site.
Transport of the defendant has also been planned. A representative from the Sheriff 3 Of?ce will
be in court for the planned Motions hearing August 24, 2018, to discuss logistics with the Court
and answer any questions the Court may have.
As noted above, there will be no speaking to the jury by any party other than the judge
and no testimony taken. At that point in the trial, the State will have introduced numerous
photographs that we would request be brought to the ?eld for the jury?s consideration. The State
would request that following the Viewing at the burial location, a stop be made at KS Kuts to
observe the skid loader and location of the dumpster.
Permitting the jurors to View the locations and evidence described above is vital to
determining and assessing the motive and intent of the defendant. This cannot be accomplished
through Videos and/ or photographic evidence. With the cooperation of the Montgomery County
Sheriff?s Of?ce, there will be minimal practical dif?culties associated with the jury View. As
such, the State requests the Court use its sound discretion and allow the jury to View the
aforementioned locations and evidence.
WHEREFORE, the State respectfully asks requests that jurors be able to view the
location of the burial site, the skid loader and location of the dumpster where essential evidence
was found during the trial of this matter.
John J. McCarthy
State?s Attorney for
Montgomery County, Maryland
Donna S. Fenton
Mary C. Herdman
Assistant State's Attorneys
50 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
I HEREBY CERTIFY, on this 20th day of August, 2018 a copy of the above Motion in
Limine Request for Jury to Locations and Evidence was delivered to via email to Allen Wolf,
191 East Jefferson Street, Rockville, Maryland 20852.
Donna S. Fenton