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Washington State family win civil damages in case against accused in murder case

Posted: Monday, March 28, 2022. 9:34 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: A Washington family has won US$3.2 million in civil damages in a case against the woman they believe murdered their father – and her uncle – in December of 2014.

A jury, deliberating after three and a half hours, found Tracy Nessl liable for the murder of her uncle and former lover Tim McNamara in Belize, for which authorities here had been pursuing her. It awarded economic damages of $77,000 to his estate; personal damages of $1.8 million to his estate; and $725,000 to beneficiaries Jennifer Ralston and Caleb McNamara, the cousins of Nessl.

McNamara, 66, a farmer based in Soap Lake, began a relationship with Nessl in 2012, essentially putting her in charge of his affairs. In 2013, he bought 50 acres of property in Belize in their names, began building houses on the property, and eventually married Tracy in Belize in December 2013. However, their relationship began to sour and Tracy bought a Glock handgun which she had shipped to Belize. On Christmas Day, 2014, McNamara was found dead at his home with an apparent gun shot wound to the back of his head in what she claimed was suicide.

Police obtained a search warrant for items at the home but Tracy left to return to Soap Lake and authorities issued a warrant seeking her for their murder investigation, subject to extradition from the U.S. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicated they had no jurisdiction over the matter.

Attorneys for the family said their next step was to file a complaint for civil murder, obtaining a finding under Washington’s Slayer Statute which provides that a person may not benefit from property if they kill a person to get it. Trial began on March 7 in Grant County and the jury found on March 25 that Nessl was directly responsible for battery against Tim McNamara which proximately caused his death and that her actions were unlawful and wilful.

The McNamara family recorded their gratitude for the result and said they would take the matter “all the way” to ensure closure to the case. Caleb McNamara added that winning the civil suit helps the FBI with their investigation into possible criminal charges against Nessl, potentially expediting the investigative process.


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