To Close Case, Family Of 1999 Murder Victim Ask Death Penalty Be Removed
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - A murder case that’s been dragging on for 16 years may be closer to reaching an end.
The victim's family said they just want it to be over, so they agreed with the district attorney to take the death penalty off the table as a possible punishment.
A retired woman was kidnapped from the Promenade Mall, robbed, taken to north Tulsa County and murdered along with a Good Samaritan who came to her aid.
That was in 1999. Now, 16 years later, the case against the man arrested and convicted for killing Mary Bowles and Jerald Thurman has yet to close.
Victor Miller was one of two men arrested for murdering Bowles and Thurman. A jury convicted him and gave him death for Thurman's murder, but he appealed and won.
A second jury also convicted him and gave him death, but again, he appealed and won a new sentence.
If he gets a third death sentence it could mean another ten years of appeals, and the family said it's time to stop the madness.
"The family needs some type of closure because it's been going on for so long. My mom is not getting any younger and she needs to see some type of justice," said Thurman’s son Jake.
Miller is representing himself and carries his legal papers in a cloth bag. With nothing but time on his hands and access to a computer, he's buried the DA's office in paperwork.
Assistant Tulsa County District Attorney, John David Luton, said, "He himself has filed 35 to 50 motions just since the last reversal, just since the last one."
In order to end the case, the DA and Thurman's family agreed to remove the death penalty as an option. The family will ask the judge to sentence Miller to life without parole rather than life.
Jake said, "As long as he doesn't get to hurt anybody again. He can sit there and think about what he's done the rest of his life."
Miller will get to speak at the sentencing and the Thurman family would like to hear him say he's sorry.
"If he would apologize and admit guilt, it would help us heal. It would help the healing process," said Jerald Thurman’s daughter-in-law, Heather.
As much as they wanted the death penalty, they wanted an ending more. Plus, Miller is also serving more than 100 years in federal prison for other violent crimes.
Thurman’s family hopes the case will be over after the sentencing on December 8th so they can finally begin to grieve.