TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Tyler James Thiel, 23, with felony murder for killing Steven Gale, 52, during a 4th of July assault at his mother’s home in Steilacoom. Gale was the mom’s boyfriend and Thiel’s step-uncle.
“If the victim of an assault dies as a result of the assault, it’s felony murder in Washington, even if the defendant didn’t intend to kill the victim,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
On July 4, 2017 at about 11:18 p.m., Steilacoom police officers were
dispatched to a domestic assault in progress. Mary Sweeney had called 911 to report that she had a physical altercation with her son, Thiel, and that her boyfriend was down and hurt.
The officers arrived and walked up to Sweeney, who was on the front porch talking to 911 on her cell phone. She told officers to go to the back yard where her boyfriend, Steven Gale, was injured. She said she was not sure where Thiel had gone. As the officer walked toward the back of the house, he could see
Gale lying on the ground, and it did not appear he was breathing.
The officer rolled Gale onto his back, moved his bloody hair out of his face, and discovered Gale’s forehead was swollen with a large open wound. Gale's eyes were also open and fixed. He had no pulse. After repeated attempts to resuscitate, Gale was confirmed dead.
Ms. Sweeney reported that she had witnessed Gale and the defendant fighting inside the house. During the fight, Thiel struck his mother, continued to beat Gale, then left the scene before officers arrived.
The defendant was arrested shortly after, at about 1:05 a.m. in Puyallup.
While searching and handcuffing the defendant, officers noticed Thiel had blood on his clothing and dried blood all over his hands. He appeared to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Bail was set at $1,000,000.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, [email protected].