Tom Fallis

On one hand cases such as this one irritate me but on the other I have to feel some sort of sympathy to the victims family.  I can easily sit here and judge people but I must admit that I am unsure if I had a friend or family member die and that death be ruled a suicide if I could completely accept that decision. That being said, it is so often found that when cases are ruled a suicide it is the family of the victim who pushed to have the case reclassified claiming their family member would not have done such a thing.  I have researched, and blogged, about more than a few of these such cases and to be honest the only one that I can, off the top of my head, recall as feeling valid would be the case of Matthew Baker in Texas.  I am sorry for the victims family but this one does not fall in that realm of things.  

Tom and Ashley Fallis lived in Evans Colorado.  By the beginning of 2012 they had three children.  Ashley had her tubes tied after their youngest child but for reasons that I could not determine completely (some reports say they grew back) she believed going into New Years Eve that she was pregnant.  However, sometime during that day she had taken at least one pregnancy test and had determined this not to be true.  This would play an important role in what would later transpire.  

It seems that the Fallis family had planned a New Years Eve party and much of both of their families were there.  Tom's parents would claim to have left earlier in the evening before trouble seemed to occur.  For Ashley's part, her parents and an aunt and uncle had attended the party and had remained there until the night had turned sour not long after midnight.  Her family would claim that it all started when Ashley told Tom she was going to go outside and "smoke" which indicted that she planned to smoke marijuana and that Tom had become angry about it.  According to her family Tom became so mad he had stormed into the bedroom, closing the door and everyone decided it was probably best that they leave and did so. It was not long later that her family would receive a phone call stating that Ashley had shot herself and had died.   

A lot of the information that I found seemed to hound on the fact that Tom had been a "former cop" or a deputy of some sort but it appears that at the time of Ashley's death he was working as a security guard, which is far from being a cop.  Secondly, I was unable to determine why he was a "former" cop.  I would gander to guess if his career status had been demoted per se that it would have been something big that had caused it and yet while all of these articles brought this up, it seems none indicated that there had been any "scandal" involved. I have to wonder if his status as a security guard was not just an extension of the police department but that he held no real power of sorts and was less important or skilled than the newspapers wanted readers to believe.  I mean, the story of a cop, present or former, being involved in the death of his wife adds drama to the story and we all know how people like drama.

At any rate investigators went to the scene, they even took Tom to their facility to interview him and really did test him hard.  They would of course ask for his version of what happened but they would also question him on some possible "injuries" he may have had.  But, let's start with what Tom said occurred. According to him as the party goers left Ashley and Tom had continued to argue over what he considered to be her reckless behavior. Tom would claim that they were in the master bedroom with each of them on opposite sides of the room when Ashley picked up his 9mm handgun and despite his pleas had shot herself.

Now, while not much of this was discussed in things during my research I have watched television shows on this case in which the actual police interview is shown.  The injuries they asked about?  Tom apparently had a lot of scratches on his chest.  In his interview he claimed those came from his own hands as he had recently shaved his chest and anyone who did so (his words) knew that it was extremely itchy when that happens.  He even scratched himself in the interview room to demonstrate.

In the end Ashley's death was ruled a suicide.  For is part Tom eventually left Colorado with his children and moved to Indiana (I am unclear if this had to do with family or his reasoning).  However, for Ashley's family this was not the end, but the beginning.  They firmly believed then, as they do today that Tom murdered Ashley.  They pushed to have the case reopened and investigated.

Upon opening a new investigation and interviewing people prosecutors decided to file charges against Tom Fallis and arrested him in November of 2014 in Indiana.  He went on trial in March of 2016 on a charge of second degree murder.

The prosecution theory was absolute.  There did not seem to be any normal claims in a spouse on spouse murder that involve money or affairs or any of those things.  The theory was this was a fight that began over marijuana and ended in murder.  They had what they considered to be some very important witnesses.  One was a boy who was fifteen at the time, a neighbor named Nick Glover.  He would claim that sometime after Ashley's death he would hear through an open window from his home to the Fallis home Tom Fallis confess to killing Ashley to two people.  Those two people would be his parents, who both denied this happened.

Nick's mother, Kathy Glover, would also testify. One of her claims was that she had heard Ashley scream "Get off of me!"  She would also testify that she had received a call from another neighbor, Chelsea Arrigo just soon after asking her if she called the police. When Kathy replied "No" and asked Arrigo why she would do that Kathy claims Arrigo stated "because your neighbor just killed his wife."  For her part Arrigo would claim she did not say this.  Another neighbor would claim Tom confessed to killing Ashley to him.  It seems as though the prosecutions biggest witness however was another "former" (by time of trial) sheriff deputy named Chris Graves who would report in 2015, and testify at the trial that he heard Fallis say "I can't believe I just shot her. I can't believe she's dead" just after the incident but had not filed it in a report for the night.  Graves was not all he was cracked up to be though it seems. 

Let me start by saying that while Ashley's family would claim that the county sheriff's department had altered evidence to save "one of their own" the case had been looked at by five different agencies and all had determined that it was a suicide.  Secondly, let's talk about Graves for a minute.  He did not come forward to his superiors, or the prosecution until March of 2015, more than three years after the incident occurred.  Whether he had already been fired, or in the process of being fired from the department, hence making him a "former" deputy at trial is unclear.  But, as I pointed out above it would be reasonable to believe that if there was a reason behind Tom Fallis being a "former" deputy, it would likely have been reported, that reason was reported, at least vaguely when it came to Graves.  Reports are that he was fired in 2015 for "lack of honesty, lack of candor and lack of truthfulness."  Now while of course I did not find the specifics keep in mind none of this was stated, even as slight remarks about Tom Fallis.  Graves would also admit on the stand that he had been not only inconsistent on the stand but had also lied the day before on the stand.

For the defense, they had quite a bit on their side.  Aside from the fact that multiple agencies had ruled Ashley's death a suicide and despite her family accusing officers of "altering evidence" an investigation had proved there was not evidence to prove this.  They also had forensics, as well as past history on their side.  For their part the defense would claim that Ashley was distraught that evening because of the supposed miscarriage. This point was argued by some but even with out that there was apparent evidence that Ashley was on medication for anxiety, depression and a sleep disorder.  Even still there did not appear to be anything to say that Tom was anywhere else in the room other than where he said he was when the gun the was fired.  Now of course there are those who could possibly argue that since he was the one to call 9-1-1 that he changed his clothes prior to police arriving but I found no evidence of this.  And, if we're going to believe Nick Glover that the homes were close enough to hear conversations through open windows, then it is reasonable to believe that a gunshot would have been heard (there was nothing in my research that indicated a silencer or a buffer was used.  This would mean that Tom Fallis would have limited time to change his clothes as well as calm and control his children who claimed to have heard the argument but not seen their parents who were behind closed doors.  Forensic tests were done and from the defense witness it was said that in order for Tom Fallis to have pulled the trigger he would have not only had to been standing over Ashley, but in essence she be in a corner and he crouched near her.  The blood evidence did not show this.  Had this occurred the way the "experts" say is the only way for Tom Fallis to have pulled the trigger, according to them Ashley would have fell forward towards him and he would have had much more blood on him.

The defense even had one of Ashley's former boyfriends take the stand.  They put him on the stand knowing that he had had a previous confrontation with Tom Fallis and testified to seeing him angry.  In the same respect Jedediah Pepping testified of incidents that he experienced with Ashley that indicated she was capable of suicide.

In March of 2016 after approximately four hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a not guilty verdict.  The prosecutors and Ashley's family were stunned.  They have openly come forward saying they have no idea how the jury came to this conclusion claiming they "obviously" did not pay attention to the evidence.  I disagree.  While I admit that the prosecution had some witnesses that said some questionable things; I also question the truthfulness of those witnesses.  In fact, some contradict others, not to mention that none of them came forward for several years.  The prosecution had no real, true motive for this and laid all their cards on the table with this being a rage killing over smoking marijuana.  There were no claims (at least that I could see) that there was any financial gain, threat of divorce or anything else of that kind.  I could sit here and say that I do not believe that this was a murder but the truth of the matter is that no one knows but Tom and Ashley Fallis, and she is no longer here to tell anyone. What I can say is that the evidence is simply not there to prove any differently.  It seems to me that the Evans Colorado police department may have suspected there would be issues with the fact that Tom Fallis had apparently at one time worked for them hence why several other departments were called in to investigate.  There was no prove that any agency, other than the one in which family claims Tom was associated with with had any sort of bias in this case.  Could the scene have been staged?  I suppose the answer to that is yes, it could have but there seemed to be absolutely no evidence of this beyond the claims made by the prosecutor and the family.  

While Tom Fallis has been allowed to move on with his life, Ashley's family continues to argue his guilt.  I saw nothing indicating they had filed a civil suit in any way against him but they have filed a case against the Evans Police Department for an alleged cover up.  That case is still pending the last I could tell.

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