Widow Hopes Justice Is Served

Wednesday, November 12th 2008, 5:12 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The widow of a Tulsa man who was shot and killed nine-years-ago is hoping justice will finally be served.

Mary Bowles and Jerald Thurman were killed in August 1999. Now three trials later, the second of two suspects goes before a jury.

So why did it take this long?

This case has had two convictions, but one of those convictions was overturned.

There have also been three death sentences, but two of those were thrown out.

Mary Bowles and Jerald Thurman had never met, but their lives came to a tragic end together on the same night nine-years-ago.

Sherry Thurman is Jerald's widow.

"There's not a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about him," said Sherry Thurman, victim's widow.

Mary Bowles was carjacked from the parking lot of a Tulsa mall on August 31, 1999.

She was taken to a secluded area in north Tulsa County where, investigators say, Jerald Thurman interrupted the robbery.

Both were shot several times.

"We just pray to God that he'll give us strength to get through it and that justice will be done," said Thurman.

In 2001, George Hanson was convicted of killing Bowles and was given the death sentence.

A year later, Victor Miller was found guilty of both murders and sentenced to life in prison.

But in 2004, the state Court of Crimanal Appeals overturned his convictions and threw out the sentences.

The court ruled Miller's constitutional rights were violated during his original trial. Specifically, the judges said prosecutors knew the testimony of a man named Rashad Barnes was not trustworthy.

Barnes testified George Hanson told him that he and Miller killed Mary Bowles and Jerald Thurman.

The appeals court said Barnes' testimony was the critical evidence that tied Miller to the crime.

The ruling meant a new trial for Victor Miller.

"I'm just praying that this'll be our final judgement," said Thurman.

Sherry Thurman says the memory of her husband is what has kept her going for nine long years.

"I know he's our guardian angel, he's watching over me and my son. I know he's there and he's taking care of us," said Thurman.

George Hanson's orginal death sentence was also overturned by an appeals court and he was given a life sentence. But a jury during sentencing trial in 2006 reinstated the death sentence.

That ruling is currently under appeal.