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U.S. launches new push to solve 2001 murder of prosecutor

By Laura L. Myers

SEATTLE (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday announced a new media push by state, federal and local authorities to solve the nearly decade-old murder of a federal prosecutor.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales, 49, was shot to death through a basement window of his home in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle shortly before 11 p.m. on October 11, 2001.

The murder, which was carried out by someone apparently standing in Wales' backyard, has never been solved and authorities have not established a motive for the crime which they say may be the first murder of a federal prosecutor in the line of duty.

"Although this case remains unsolved, and Tom's killer remains unknown, our resolve to uncover the truth and to help Tom's family, friends, colleagues and neighbors find the answers and the closure that they deserve, has never been stronger," Holder said at a press conference in Seattle.

Holder asked that anyone with information about the case contact authorities, saying that investigators were still "constantly and aggressively pursuing leads."

The U.S. government has offered since 2006 a $1 million reward for information leading to the killer.

The killer is believed to have used a Makarov gun with an unusual extended and threaded replacement barrel that acted as a silencer, the FBI said.

A new media effort to publicize the case includes advertisements to be placed in Seattle newspapers, billboards, commercials on local television and radio and a new FBI web page about the case (www.fbi.gov/wales).

The FBI said it would also use its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages to seek new information as the anniversary of Wales' death approached.

"The murder of Tom Wales was more than a single act of violence against an individual," Greg Fowler, FBI inspector in charge of the case, said in a prepared statement.

"It was a crime that impacted many, but no one more than his family. Tom Wales left behind a legacy and a life that cannot be replaced. We remain confident that, with the public's help, we will find those responsible and bring them to justice," Fowler said.

(Writing by Dan Whitcomb)

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