Murder charge dropped in Fourth of July death
Oct. 19, 2017
STEILACOOM, Wash. (AP) — A man accused of killing his mother's boyfriend on the Fourth of July is no longer charged with murder after the Pierce County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death to be "undetermined."
The News Tribune reports 52-year-old Stephen Gale died in the yard of his Steilacoom home after a barbecue there. Days later, his girlfriend's son, 23-year-old Tyler James Thiel, was charged with second-degree murder in the death.
In a motion to dismiss the murder charge, Deputy Prosecutor Jared Ausserer wrote on Aug. 28 that Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark could not say "with any degree of medical certainty" that the death was a homicide.
Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend agreed to dismiss the charge without prejudice, which means prosecutors have the option to refile charges later.
Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com