FIRST ON KHQ.COM: Murder Suspect Asks Witnesses To Change Statements, Court Records Show
by Kelsey Watts, KHQ Local News Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
SPOKANE, Wash – Tony Callihan, 38, has been in the Spokane County Jail since mid-January charged in the death of his ex-girlfriend, Michelle Koenen – but now, court records obtained by KHQ show he wrote letters to two witnesses asking them to make new statements.
Callihan was arrested a week after Koenen's murder – in her car – on the run in California.
Investigators intercepted two letters they say Callihan wrote while in state prison in Shelton, Washington before he was brought back to Spokane.
In them, he writes to one witness: "What I need to happen is for you to go to the prosecutor's office and explain to them that what you told the cops was what you thought might have happened… but now that you have thought it over… you will testify saying that now that you've settled down I gave no evidence verbally or any other way that I was guilty of anything."
He goes on to ask the witness to "sign and notarize a sworn affidavit" to that effect, and that once that happens "the charges will be reduced almost for certain. I'll still be in serious trouble but I don't think I'll be facing murder."
Back in January, Callihan spoke to KHQ in an exclusive jailhouse interview, and maintained his innocence.
In these letters, he writes Koenen's death "is a suicide," but also says "proving I didn't do it is going to be next to impossible without some help."
In another letter asking a second witness to make a similar statement, Callihan writes, "Let me know without really saying anything because the incoming mail may be censored and the calls are recorded."
Prior to his stay in Shelton, Washington, court documents also show a cell inspection in the Lake County Jail near Lakeport, California, turned up tightly wrapped piece of plastic. Inside, the jail report shows, deputies found a screw that "appeared to be fashioned into a handcuff key," and noted in his criminal history, Callihan has a record of escape.
It is possible Callihan may now also face charges of tampering with a witness and conspiracy to commit perjury, on top of the second-degree murder charge he is already facing.
His trial is scheduled to begin at the Spokane County Courthouse in late August.
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