In August 2014, Kim Thomas, a single mother of two boys, told Terry Froman that he had to move out of her Mayfield, Ky., house. Days later she would be found dead shot to death in the back of Froman’s SUV on Interstate 75 near Middletown.
Froman, 43, is charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping for the death of the 34-year-old nurse and faces the death penalty if found guilty.
He also faces a capital murder charge for the shooting death of Thomas’ 17-year-old son, Eli, the same day in Kentucky.
Warren County prosecutors began presenting evidence Thursday in Froman’s trial after three days of jury selection.
Prosecutor David Fornshell told the jury during opening statements that co-workers at a rehabilitation center where Thomas worked were told by Froman just days before the fatal shooting, “I am going to make sure she loses everything at all costs.”
Froman did not have a job, burned through a money settlement by buying an SUV and motorcycle and spent his days on the couch while Thomas worked at a nursing home and rehabilitation center, according to the prosecution.
“She paid the bills,” Fornshell said.
Bolstered by her church and a group of friends at work, Thomas had had enough and told Froman to leave, the prosecutor said.
Friends said Thomas was concerned about how Froman would react when she told him to move out, so she took her father, Terry Thomas, with her to meet Froman. He was given time to remove his belongs and eventually moved, witnesses testified today.
But he did not stay out of her life.
Co-workers began following her home for her safety after Froman showed up at her work in late August 2014, Fornshell told the jury.
Two of those co-workers from Mills Health and Rehab testified Thursday. Melissa Clark said Froman spoke to her at that visit in August 2014 as she tried to get Thomas out the door and to a meeting.
“Kim has made me lose everything, I will make sure she loses everything,” Clark said Froman told her.
On Sept. 12, 2014, Froman showed up at Thomas’s residence with a gun. Thomas called out to her teenage son and Froman shot him twice, according to the prosecutors.
Then he kidnapped Thomas, putting her in his Tahoe, with a vanity license plate “TRICKE 1,” which is his nickname, and started driving.
Beth Munsell one of several co-workers who went to Thomas’ home after hearing from police that she may have been kidnapped, told the jury about finding Thomas’ son dead.
She said during testimony she opened the door, stepped one foot in and saw Eli “expired.”
“I slammed the door,” Munsell said. The group of co-wokers then called 911.
The jury saw graphic body camera video from officers of the crime scene at Thomas’s home showing Eli’s bloody body and glass scattered in the house.
At a food mart in Paducah, Ky., Thomas, who was naked and covered with bruises and cuts, tried to flee while Froman was in the store, but he “grabbed her by the hair and stuffed her back in the vehicle,” Fornshell said.
The jury was shown gut wrenching video from that food mart as Thomas, holding a t-shirt in front of her, sprinted to a neighboring van and banged for help. That’s when Froman came out of the store, grabbed her and dragged her to the SUV.
A man call 911 and in the call played for the jury, he said “a woman ran to my car buck naked screaming for help.” He gave the vanity licence plate for Froman’s car and the search was on.
While driving North on I-75, Froman was on the phone with a friend who was at a Kentucky police station. During that conversation, Froman said, “I am going to kill her dude,” Fornshell told the jury.
Seconds later, Froman said in the phone call to his friend, “She’s dead. I shot her three times,” according to the prosecution.
That friend took the stand Thursday to testify. The prosecution played video tapes of David Clark on speaker phone at the police station while he pleaded with Froman to turn himself in.
“Don’t do it, don’t do it,” David Clark told Froman. Froman alternated between talking to Clark and his mother as he drove up I-75 into Warren County. Thomas was in the back seat in and out of consciousness, he said.
In one call Froman tells David Clark he already killed one person there is not going back.
“They are going to give me 20 to life or might even give me the death chair,” Froman tells Clark.
In the second to last call, Froman tells David Clark he is in Dayton, Ohio and counts the number of police cars around him.
Minutes later, in the final call to David Clark, Froman says “She’s dead, I shot myself …I am done. I shot her three times.”
Froman’s final words to Clark with a roar of sirens in the back ground are “I’m dying.”
David Clark then hangs up the phone.
When the Ohio State Highway Patrol stopped the SUV, two gunshots were heard, according to prosecutors.
Froman had a minor wound to his leg. Thomas was in the back of the SUV “naked and riddled with gunfire,” Fornshell said.
Defense attorney Perry Ancona told the jury that Froman does not deny killing Thomas, but that he is remorseful.
“We are not contesting that he caused the death of Ms. Thomas,” Ancona told the jury during brief opening statements. “But evidence is going to show mitigating factors in this case.”