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

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.

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 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.

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.

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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