Waller murder trial gets underway
by By Frank Lewis
PDT Staff Writer
Bill Dever, defense attorney for Jeffrey Waller, 25 — accused of shooting to death, James Thurman, 33, in August of 2012 — hammered away at the discrepancies between the original statement made by Thurman’s wife and Waller’s then-girlfriend, Anna Thurman and her statement Monday under questioning by Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn.
Dever asked if she had ever taken out a protection order against her husband. She told him she didn’t remember, but Dever produced two such orders - one from 2005 and the other from 2011.
He asked if she had feared for her life when she took them out. She said she didn’t. But reading the narrative back, she said she did fear for her life.
“Were you lying then or are you lying now?” Dever asked.
Anna Thurman responded she was not in a good frame of mind when she made the original statement, but had 10 months to think about how it really “went down.”
Under direct questioning by Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn, Anna Thurman said James Thurman came into the back bedroom of their home at 890 Brown-McNamer Rd., where she and Waller were sitting on the bed - “James shoved Jeff in the back of the head with his foot,” Thurman said.
Dever, again, during cross examination, called attention to her original statement, she had said he “kicked” Waller in the back of the head.
Anna Thurman went on to say she got up and went toward James Thurman who was up against the wall, and that he raised his hand. She said she originally thought he was going to hit her, but in retrospect decided it was somewhat of a defensive move, because that is when Waller reportedly grabbed a sawed-off shotgun and shot James Thurman in the chest. Anna Thurman said the “bullet” went by her when it struck James Thurman.
Shortly after that, she said Waller left with the gun, which she had purchased for her husband at Swap Days. According to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, Waller was arrested a short time later. Meanwhile, Anna Thurman said she helped James Thurman to the porch. The victim was transported by squad to Valley High School, then taken by helicopter to Cabell Huntington Hospital. Hospital officials contacted the detectives at 3 a.m. and advised that the victim was deceased.
The incident began on the Thursday before James Thurman was shot on a Monday. She said James had come to the house to see their three children, and over a four-day period, there were moments of peace and some tension between Waller and James Thurman. She said Waller talked a lot about his experience in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts).
Waller is facing charges of murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, possessing a weapon while under disability, unlawful possession of dangerous ordinances and a firearm specification. The trial continues into its second day Tuesday.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.
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