SPOKANE, Wash. – A year and a half after he said he accidentally shot and killed his wife while cleaning a gun, former Lincoln County Reserve Deputy, Dwayne Thurman, has been charged with manslaughter in the first degree.
Dwayne Thurman is not in custody. In the time since the shooting his wife's children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him claiming he was negligent in her death.
Attorney Richard Wall is representing Brenda Thurman's children in the civil wrongful death lawsuit. As part of the lawsuit, Wall and private investigator, Ted Pulver, have been investigating to find out exactly what happened the day Thurman said he was cleaning a gun and it went off. Brenda died from a gunshot wound to the chest. Both were surprised to hear the former Lincoln County Reserve Deputy was charged with first degree manslaughter.
"This man shot his wife in the chest and it's been well over a year and a half of a lot of pressure from the family before this man was charged," Pulver explained.
Both believe there is more information to uncover about Brenda’s death.
"We're uncovering new evidence all the time. We have an ongoing investigation and we have discovery in the civil lawsuit that allows us to request information from Mr. Thurman himself," Wall said.
Wall said the criminal case does not really have a direct impact on the civil lawsuit. He said the only way it might affect the lawsuit would be surrounding what Thurman chooses to say in court when the case goes to trial.
“He's in a position where it's easier for him to claim answering certain questions could be incriminating as where if there are no charges pending, making that claim in a civil case might require a different kind of showing on his part,” said Wall.
Based on evidence gathered as part of the civil suit, 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."
Thurman will appear in court on Wednesday for an arraignment. He's expected to enter a plea and the judge will set his release conditions moving forward.