- Lauren Pack Staff Writer
A Warren County jury has recommended Terry Froman should receive the death penalty for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend in 2014 as he drove up Interstate 75 near Middletown.
>>VIDEO: Victim’s friend speaks about verdict
The jury reached the decision after just two and a half hours of deliberation. Their other options for recommendation were life without the possibility of parole, 25 years to life or 30 years to life
Froman was found guilty earlier this week of aggravated murder and kidnapping for the death of his ex-girlfriend, Kim Thomas.
Froman’s 16-year-old daughter, Alexis, ran from the courtroom, sobbing, after the jury’s decision was read. However, Froman showed no emotion. Some of Thomas’ friends shook their heads in agreement, but there was little emotion from most.
Judge Joseph Kirby set formal sentencing of Froman for June 22.
Kirby asked Froman if he heard the recommendation of the jury and he answered “Yes, sir.”
Alicia Franklin, Thomas’ best friend, travelled from Mayfield, Ky., for the sentencing hearing. She was wearing a shirt with Thomas’ picture on the front and a snowflake on the back, which was Thomas’ nickname.
“It was hard to hear all the things that happened,” Franklin said. “And seeing those pictures, but we are thankful for what the jury decided.”
During closing statements of the sentencing hearing, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell hammered home how Thomas was taken from her Mayfield home after Froman shot her 17-year-0ld son “execution style” and was beaten by Froman while she was naked and afraid in his SUV. Then Froman shot the mother of two four times, even as a friend begged him by phone not to do it.
During the hearing, Froman sat at the defense table and read a statement to the jury.
“I want to live,” Froman said, while reading and choking back a few tears. He offered an apology to the Thomas family and told them he loved her as well as her teen son, Eli. Prosecutors say Froman first shot and killed the teen in his Mayfield, Ky. home before kidnapping Thomas.
“I want you to know I accept total responsibility,” he said. “I am truly sorry.”
Froman told the jury during the beginning of his four-year relationship with Thomas that things were good.
“I thought Kim Thomas loved me,” Froman said. “But later she changed, she ordered me around and made me walk behind her in public.”
In the days leading up to Thomas’ murder, Froman said he discovered Thomas was being unfaithful to him by going through her phone and viewing messages. He said he also lent her about $8,000.
When he went to her home on Sept. 12, 2014, Froman told the jury he was sick and upset. Froman suffers from diabetes.
“I just wanted to be with her,” Froman said of Thomas.
Froman also told the jury he was sorry for taking up so much time in trial.
“I tried to plead guilty to life in prison, but the prosecution would not agree,” Froman said.
He said he wants to live because his mother and 16-year-old daughter need him.
That daughter travelled from Kentucky to testify for her father.
The daughter, who has been raised by her maternal grandmother, asked the jury to spare her father’s life.
“I am just asking please don’t kill my father … I still need him for motivation,” she said directly to the jury. She recently graduated early from high school, but has suffered from depression since her father’s arrest, she said.
In a letter Terry Froman has written her from the Warren County Jail, his daughter said he is very remorseful for what he has done. After testifying, the teen returned to her seat behind her father and sobbed.
Psychologist Dr. Nancy Schmidt-Goessling was the last defense witness to testify. After evaulating Froman at the Warren County Jail she determined he had a lower than average IQ and suffered from depression.
During cross examination of the psychologist, the prosecution noted the evaluation of Froman occurred in 2017 after he had been sitting in the Warren County Jail for more than two years charged with a death penalty crime.
Defense attorney Perry Ancona said there were mitigating factors to give Froman a life sentence, including his remorse.
Ancona noted that the psychologist testified Froman suffered from depression. He also asked the jury not to ruin Froman’s daughter’s life.
“She needs her father,” Ancona said.
As Fornshell spoke to the jury for the last time, he projected an autopsy photo of Thomas, shot and beaten, and a photo of her son’s body in a pool of blood.
“It stopped being about what he wants on Sept. 12, 2014,” Fornshell said, pointing to Froman.