Waller gets 20 to life

By Frank Lewis

October 23, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Jeffrey Waller was sentenced to 20 years to life by Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall Tuesday evening after being found guilty of murder in the death of James Thurman, 33, at a residence Waller shared with Thurman’s wife, Anna Thurman, in August of 2012.

“He was found guilty on murder; guilty on felonious assault; guilty on the first count of tampering with evidence; guilty on unlawful possession of a dangerous ordnance and not guilty on the second tampering with evidence charge,” Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said.

The trial lasted only two days which were mainly taken up by the prosecution. But on Tuesday, defense attorney Bill Dever put his client on the stand, as his only witness. While on the stand, Waller denied bringing the sawed-off shotgun into the room prior to the incident which resulted in Thurman’s death. It had been the testimony of Anna Thurman, that Waller had gone into a closet and had gotten the gun earlier and took it into the bedroom where the shooting took place.

The shooting incident, which occurred on Aug. 27 of 2012, made headlines because of the circumstances surrounding the case.

“Anna Thurman made a 911 call and she advised that her husband had just been shot by her boyfriend, and his name is Jeff Waller, of that same address,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said. “And according to the witness statement, which is the wife, she and Jeff Waller were in a back bedroom, sitting on a bed on the floor, and the victim, James Thurman, came into the bedroom and kicked the suspect (Waller), without any provocation, at which time, Anna (Thurman) jumped up between the two of them to stop James from further assaulting the suspect, at which time the suspect grabbed a loaded shotgun and shot the victim in the stomach. He (Waller) apparently left the scene and was walking down the road.”

On the witness stand Anna Thurman used the term “shoved” when she described how Thurman’s foot came in contact with Waller’s head. Dever took her back to her original statement, which included the use of the word “kicked.” This difference was used in an a attempt to show jurors other discrepancies in her testimony.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT