Death penalty upheld for man who killed woman on I-75 in Warren County

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Jury came back with death sentence.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Ohio Supreme Court today affirmed the death penalty sentence of a man found guilty of kidnapping his former girlfriend and then shooting her to death in 2014 in the back of his SUV as he drove along Interstate 75 near Middletown.

Terry Froman, now 47, was convicted by a Warren County jury in 2017 of aggravated murder with special specification for 34-year-old Kim Thomas’ death.

ExploreI-75 shooter Terry Froman gets death penalty

Froman’s killing of Thomas came after he shot and killed her son, Eli, in her Mayfield, Ky. home, then forced her into his SUV. It ended with Froman shooting himself in the leg and shooting Thomas three times as police closed in on the vehicle on Sept. 12, 2014.

The jury has recommended the death penalty for Terry Froman after a short deliberation in the sentencing phase at Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon Thursday, June 15. Froman was found guilty by the jury and the jury had to decide to recommend prison or the death penalty. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
The jury has recommended the death penalty for Terry Froman after a short deliberation in the sentencing phase at Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon Thursday, June 15. Froman was found guilty by the jury and the jury had to decide to recommend prison or the death penalty. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The verdict came after three days of testimony in Judge Joseph Kirby’s courtroom. The jury deliberated just two hours.

Several days later, following a mitigation hearing, the jury recommended Froman be sentenced to death, and Kirby formally imposed the same sentence. Froman was later convicted in Kentucky of Thomas’ son’s death and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Froman’s attorney argued the death of Eli could not be used as an aggravated factor in the death penalty consideration in Ohio because he was killed in Kentucky.

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But in unanimous decision, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the argument, finding circumstances around Eli’s death did not need to be linked to Ohio to give the Ohio court jurisdiction, but only that Froman’s conduct included purposefully killing Eli before he killed Thomas. The trial court had jurisdiction over Thomas’ murder and the accompanying course-of-conduct specification, it ruled.

Interstate 75 was shut down in the northbound lanes between Ohio 63 and Ohio 122 due to a shooting incident Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. A teenage boy and his mother are dead following a tragic domestic situation Friday that started at their Kentucky home and ended with a traffic stop on Interstate 75 near Middletown. The Warren County Coroner’s Office confirmed Kim Thomas, 34, of Mayfield, Ky., was found deceased in the back of her ex-boyfriend Terry Froman’s white SUV near mile marker 31 on northbound I-75. She was found naked and bloody, and likely was shot multiple times, Deputy Coroner Doyle Burke said. Marshall Gorby / Staff
Interstate 75 was shut down in the northbound lanes between Ohio 63 and Ohio 122 due to a shooting incident Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. A teenage boy and his mother are dead following a tragic domestic situation Friday that started at their Kentucky home and ended with a traffic stop on Interstate 75 near Middletown. The Warren County Coroner’s Office confirmed Kim Thomas, 34, of Mayfield, Ky., was found deceased in the back of her ex-boyfriend Terry Froman’s white SUV near mile marker 31 on northbound I-75. She was found naked and bloody, and likely was shot multiple times, Deputy Coroner Doyle Burke said. Marshall Gorby / Staff

The court said it did consider remorse Froman expressed for the murders and acknowledged a psychologist examined Froman and found his IQ score was in the low-average range. But the court concluded his IQ was not low enough to disqualify him from the death penalty.

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