Murder Victim's Family Says Justice System Failed

Friday, September 17th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A cell phone conversation reveals murder victim Gerald Thurman may have been heading to confront the men who eventually killed him. That's what Thurman's family believes, because he was on the phone with his nephew just moments before he was shot.

Investigators have filed two first-degree murder charges against Victor Miller and George Hanson. They're accused of killing 44-year-old Thurman as well as 77-year-old former Tulsa banker Mary Bowles. A jogger found Bowles body just six blocks from where Thurman was shot. Thurman's family says his death is senseless because, they say, the prison system failed.

In 1981, a jury found Victor Miller, guilty of murder and three robberies in Tulsa County. He received a life sentence, but was released from jail in 1997. Thurman's sister, Dianne Moseby, doesn't understand why Miller was even out on the streets. "What judge would set a man go after serving such a short sentence?" she said.

Miller's former attorney says the sentence was shortened for several reasons. He says Miller had not been advised of several rights. According to the attorney, Miller had not pulled the trigger in the 1981 killing of a convenience store clerk. He was released in 1997 because of good behavior and after an agreement with prosecutors reducing his charge.

Thurman's sister says the entire system failed. "I always felt I was a forgiving person, said Moseby. "But in this case, there shouldn't have been anything to forgive." She says Victor Miller should still be behind bars, serving time for the 1981 murder.