SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane's Medical Examiner says the death of Brenda Thurman was an accidental shooting, but tonight, that death has triggered a pair of lawsuits.
The counselor at Spokane's Veterans Outreach Center was killed in early 2016 when her husband fired a single bullet into Thurman's chest.
Thurman's adult children, however, claim their mom's death was no accident.
Dwayne Thurman is being served with two lawsuits.
One alleges wrongful death based on negligence, and the other claims Thurman willfully caused his wife's death and should not be able to profit from the fatal shooting.
Brenda Thurman was killed by the same gun her husband Dwayne had given to her as a birthday present.
The couple were out shooting the Glock .380, and the next day were inside their kitchen to clean their respective weapons.
“It's our understanding that he admitted to pointing the muzzle of the pistol he was allegedly cleaning at his wife at the time it went off,” said Richard D. Wall, the Plaintiff's Attorney.
Dwayne says he accidentally shot Brenda while trying to disassemble her pistol.
But the lawsuit claims, as a former Lincoln County Reserve Sheriff's Deputy, Dwayne would instinctively know to avoid pointing a gun in Brenda's direction.
“I think it is reckless in any circumstance but certainly reckless if you have had training in firearm handling and firearm safety,” said Wall. “You would know that's something you just don't do.”
The suit also alleges when Brenda's daughter Gabrielle heard the shot and came downstairs, Dwayne wasn't doing CPR.
“Her recollection of the events is that he did not appear to be doing much to provide any kind of emergency or medical assistance to her,” said Wall. “They did take her to the hospital but apparently the wound was fatal.”
A second lawsuit asks the court to find Dwayne the willful "slayer of his wife and block him from collecting assets from her estate."
The lawsuit goes on to claim "there is evidence that would establish under Washington Statute that Mr. Thurman would qualify as the slayer of Mrs. Thurman and therefore not able to benefit from her estate in any way."
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