crimesider

Ex-cop indicted in wife's 2012 death initially ruled suicide

Ashley Fallis

CBS Denver

Last Updated Nov 18, 2014 3:07 PM EST

EVANS, Colo. - The husband of a woman found shot to death on New Year's Day 2012 and whose death was initially ruled a suicide is now charged with murdering her.

Tom Fallis, a 34-year-old former law enforcement officer, was indicted Monday by a Weld County, Colo. grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Ashley, reports CBS Denver.

He was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in Bloomington, Ind., where he was living with the couple's three children, according to the station. He is being held without bond and faces extradition to Colorado.

Ashley Fallis was 28 when she was found dead on New Year's Day 2012 in her home in Evans, Colo. Her death was ruled a suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In April, authorities reopened the investigation into her death on the insistence of her family, who argued that Tom Fallis, then a Weld County sheriff's deputy, was responsible. They said another law enforcement officer helped him cover it up.

CBS Denver reported that Ashley's parents said statements from key witnesses were changed or omitted from the original police report, including a statement from Fallis' own 6-year-old daughter that she had seen "daddy shoot mommy."

Neighbors also said they heard Tom Fallis claim that he shot his wife, Daniel Recht, an attorney for Ashley's parents, said.

Recht told 48 Hours' Crimesider Tuesday that his clients are "happy that justice is beginning to be done." He says they flew to Indiana to take custody of their grandchildren.

"It's been three difficult years of pushing and never giving up their pursuit of bringing Tom Fallis to justice and they strongly believe that he killed their daughter," Recht says. "Initially, the small town police force simply took Tom Fallis' word that his wife shot herself, called it a suicide and never did much of an investigation -- sort of closed the books on it after it happened."

Evans Police Chief Rick Brandt, who headed up the initial investigation into Ashley Fallis' death, asked Fort Collins police to head up the most recent investigation. Loveland police conducted an independent investigation into allegations that Evans Police Officer Michael Yates impeded the investigation into Ashley Fallis' death. They concluded in August that there was no probable cause to charge Yates with a crime.

Chief Brandt told Crimesider Tuesday that he had not been informed of details surrounding the indictment and arrest of Tom Fallis. He said that he is moving forward with an internal review of Officer Yates, as is protocol. Yates is currently serving on the force as a community resource officer.

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