SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – A man who claims he shot and killed his wife accidentally while cleaning his gun back on January 18, 2016 is now facing charges.
The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office officially charged Dwayne Thurman with first degree manslaughter for the shooting death of his wife Brenda Thurman. Court documents claim Thurman “recklessly caused the death” of his wife. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office had requested second degree manslaughter charges back on May 31.
Officials said Thurman is not in custody. His arraignment is set for Wednesday and he is expected to enter a plea. The filing of the charge came as a surprise to many familiar with the case.
"I was surprised. We've been in contact with the sheriff's dept and the prosecutor's office and we hadn't, we were just not expecting they would be filing this quickly," said Attorney Richard Wall, who is representing Brenda's children in the wrongful death suit against Thurman.
As part of the civil suit, Wall and Private Investigator Ted Pulver have been looking into what happened the day Thurman said he accidentally shot his wife in the chest.
"We had made a commitment to provide any information we were able to uncover in the process of that lawsuit and so we were expecting that they would wait to see what might come of that before they made a decision to file," Wall explained.
On the day of the shooting, court documents said Thurman called 911 saying he accidentally shot his wife. Thurman claims he was cleaning a gun he bought for Brenda in the kitchen of their Spokane Valley home and it went off. Documents state that Thurman told deputies, "It's my fault, I'm an idiot, the gun just went off."
Thurman and Brenda's daughter drove her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Brenda's children have said they do not believe this was an accident and said they are disappointed with the manslaughter charge rather than murder.
Thurman's attorney Carl Oreskovich said, "It's only a very tragic accident. It's not a crime and we intend to fully defend the case."
Private Investigator Ted Pulver said it has taken too long for Thurman to be charged and that it has taken a toll on Brenda's family.
"A lot of continued pain and suffering that will never be cured by this man going to jail," Pulver said.