Authorities are investigating a prosecutor in Washington state for allegedly helping a criminal she was in a relationship with elude police.
Spokane County deputy prosecutor Marriya Wright,34, was reportedly involved with an inmate named Matthew Baumrucker, a 31-year-old felon with the word "criminal" tattooed across his forehead. According to the Spokesman-Review, Baumrucker's record includes perjury, assault and money laundering. Between Feb. 6 and March 5, the pair allegedly exchanged at least 1280 texts and phone calls, including what one witness said was a picture of Wright in a bikini. An investigation into another crime allegedly committed by Baumrucker led them to the discovery of Wright's involvement, according to KXLY:
Police found out about the possible relationship while investigating Baumrucker in an assault. On March 3, police were trying to find Baumrucker in connection with those charges. Police say he was at an apartment with a woman who later told police Baumrucker called a woman and said, "Marriya, the police are chasing me, I am in an apartment."
The warrant says Baumrucker told the woman at the apartment that "Marriya told him she didn't have to let the police in to search if they did not have a search warrant."
When police knocked on the door, no one answered. Another witness told police Baumrucker met Wright in a car at a nearby gas station. According to the witness, "she overheard Marriya telling Baumrucker he needed to get his warrants taken care of." That witness says Wright made no attempt to tell Baumrucker to turn himself in to police. Surveillance video obtained by police confirms Baumrucker got into Wright's vehicle at that gas station.
Baumrucker was arrested for possession of a firearm police found at the motel. According to the Spokesman-Review, after Baumrucker was arrested, Wright visited him in jail, listing the reason as "professional," which allowed her to meet with him and give him documents. (Wright was not the prosecutor assigned to his case.) A jail guard told police he saw Baumrucker in possession of a picture of Wright in a bikini, which he called "odd."
Because Baumrucker's firearms case earned him federal charges, county prosecutors will no longer be handling his prosecution. A Whitman County prosecutor also said the U.S. Attorney's office would be handling further investigations of Wright and Baumrucker.
Wright was involved in dropping the charges of an alleged violent offender with ties to the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang in May 2013, in lieu of releasing internal investigative documents about a Spokane police officer who was on leave at the time. That officer, Darrell Quarles, was himself implicated in an inappropriate relationship with a suspected criminal.
Wright has been on paid administrative since April 21 while the investigation is underway.
Image via Spokane County Jail.