SPOKANE, Wash. - It's taken a year and a half but Spokane County's prosecutors have filed a criminal charge in the death of Brenda Thurman.
Now, her husband Dwayne Thurman faces years in prison for a shooting he says was an accident.
Prosecutors think Mr. Thurman committed manslaughter. And that means investigators think they have enough evidence to show that Thurman's reckless actions caused the death of his wife, but stopped short of calling it murder.
Back in January of 2016, Brenda Thurman was sitting at her kitchen table while her husband Dwayne, was trying to break down her new .380 caliber glock.
The pistol had allegedly jammed at the range the day before, and Dwayne was trying to disassemble the gun.
But when Dwayne pulled the trigger, a bullet was still in the chamber, and it went off.
“Our understanding is that he admitted shooting his wife in the heart, basically, and that that one wound caused her death,” said Richard Wall, Victim's survivor's attorney.
Spokane's medical examiner determined the fatal shooting to be accidental.
But now prosecutors think they can prove to point a still load, but supposedly jammed pistol anywhere near Brenda constitutes manslaughter.
“The level of culpability for first degree manslaughter is criminal recklessness which is a higher standard than either negligence or recklessness in the context of a civil law suit,” said Wall.
Attorney Richard Wall has filed a wrongful death law suit against Dwayne Thurman on behalf of Brenda’s adult children.
The case alleges that for Dwayne, a former military policeman, to allow the muzzle of the gun he was handling to sweep his wife's chest is a sign the shooting was no accident.
“And knowing Mr. Thurman's background, we think it's certainly questionable whether his story that it was accidental makes any sense,” said Wall.
If Thurman is convicted of first degree manslaughter, the low end of a standard sentence is six and a half years in prison.
Thurman is not in custody and will remain free at least until his arraignment next Wednesday.