Maryland prosecutors say they prepared a very strong case against Tyler Tessier that would surely have sent him to prison for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend last year—but they don't need it anymore. Tessier was found hanged in his cell at Montgomery County Correctional Facility on Thursday, the morning his three-week trial was set to begin, the Baltimore Sun reports. "Today was his reckoning,” prosecutor John McCarthy told reporters. "He took the cowardly way out." McCarthy said the evidence against Tessier was "overwhelming." Tessier, 33, was accused of shooting girlfriend Laura Wallen, 31, after luring her to a remote field. She was four months pregnant with his child.
Wallen, a popular high school teacher, was reported missing when she didn't show up for the first day of classes last year. Her body was found more than a week later. Prosecutors say the "manipulative" Tessier was secretly engaged to another woman and living a double life, reports the Washington Post. "He knew today it was all going to crush down on him," McCarthy said. "He killed the woman he pretended to love and took the life of his own child," he said. Laura's mother, Gwen Wallen, called Tessier "diabolical." "As awful as today is, I feel at peace," she said. (Wallen's parents knew he was a suspect when he appeared at a press conference with them and pleaded for her safe return.)