NORWELL, Mass. – There’s a chance Brian Walshe’s Massachusetts murder case can end up in federal court if investigators determine his motive was connected to his federal art fraud scam, a local criminal defense lawyer said.
At the end of Walshe’s arraignment in Quincy, Massachusetts court Wednesday morning, prosecutors hinted at a possible motive for allegedly killing his wife, Ana Walshe, when they said Brian allegedly Googled “What’s the best state to divorce for a man?” on Dec. 27.
But why the convicted art fraudster allegedly beat his wife to death hasn’t definitively been identified, which has Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer Nate Amendola speculating it might end up in federal court.
Walshe was on house arrest and pre-sentencing probation for selling fake Andy Warhol paintings, and was being investigated for allegedly destroying his father’s will and stealing from it.
“I don’t think the feds have dropped this and are watching this case closely,” Amendola told Fox News Digital Wednesday night. “It all depends on what his motive was. If he killed her, assuming he did kill her, because she knew something about the art scam or his father’s will and he wanted to keep her from talking, that becomes a federal matter.”
There are no federal murder charges; it has to be a killing in connection with another federal crime, such as a racketeering, or in this hypothetical situation, witness tampering, which is punishable by life in prison and eligible for the death penalty.
There have been no updates in Walshe’s federal case since his arrest on Jan. 8, according to court records. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts declined to comment Thursday when asked about Walshe’s murder case.
Brian Walshe, 47, was charged with murder, improper transport of a body and misleading a police investigation in connection to 39-year-old Ana Walshe’s presumed death.
The mom of three and real estate executive hasn’t been seen since Jan. 1.
Brian’s lawyer Tracy Miner said in a statement that she will fight the charges in court and not in the media.
“It is easy to charge a crime and even easier to say a person committed that crime. It is a much more difficult thing to prove it, which we will see if the prosecution can do,” said Miner, who questioned the evidence mentioned in court Wednesday.
“In my experience, where, as here, the prosecution leaks so called evidence to the press before they provide it to me, their case isn’t that strong,” Miner said.
“When they have a strong case, they give me everything as soon as possible. We shall see what they have and what evidence is admissible in court, where the case will ultimately be decided.”
A non-guilty plea was entered on Brian’s behalf, and he was ordered held without bond and is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 9.