Thurman Charged

First-degree manslaughter for ex-Lincoln County reserve deputy; plus, state budgets $15 million for Spokane medical schools

click to enlarge Thurman Charged
WSU's Spokane medical school got $10 million in stage funds to support 60 first- and second-year students.


A former Lincoln County reserve deputy and military veteran is now charged with KILLING HIS WIFE. After an almost 18-month delay due to a long-awaited examination of the .380 Glock pistol, Spokane County prosecutors are charging Dwayne Thurman with first-degree manslaughter for "recklessly" shooting and killing his wife, Brenda.

On Jan. 18, 2016, Dwayne Thurman was cleaning Brenda Thurman's handgun when "it went off," according to recently filed court documents. Dwayne Thurman told investigators at the time that the .380 Glock pistol had been malfunctioning when the couple went to a shooting range the day before. A Washington State Patrol firearms examiner tested the gun, and found it to be working "reliably," without "any malfunctions in which the fired cartridge casing stayed inside the chamber," contrary to what Dwayne Thurman had told police.

Dwayne Thurman told police that on the morning of Jan. 18, he intended to clean the gun but accidentally fired a single shot into Brenda Thurman's chest. Brenda Thurman's daughter, Gabrielle Corriette, and Dwayne Thurman drove the injured woman to the hospital, where she was declared dead.

When they arrived, Corriette approached a deputy, who had followed them to the hospital, and said "Arrest him. He did this," referring to Dwayne Thurman.

Dwayne Thurman, to that same deputy: "It's my fault. I'm an idiot. The gun just went off."

Brenda Thurman could not say anything about the shooting during the car ride to the hospital, according to court documents. Spokane County Medical Examiner Sally Aiken has ruled the death accidental.

Corriette and Brenda Thurman's son, Michael Thurman, have also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dwayne Thurman, who is their adoptive father. (MITCH RYALS)


The two medical schools in Spokane have secured a total of $15 MILLION from the state's operating budget, though for the University of Washington and Gonzaga University partnership, it won't be enough to expand enrollment as hoped.

Washington State University's Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, which will admit its inaugural class of 60 first-year students in August, will receive $10 million in state funding over two years. That will support 60 first- and second-year students. Founding Dean John Tomkowiak said the funding was "crucial" to ensuring that the school can extend medical education to students across the state.

The University of Washington's School of Medicine in Spokane, in partnership with Gonzaga, will receive $5 million through 2019. While that will also support 60 first- and second-year students on the Gonzaga campus, the UW asked for more — $9.2 million — in hopes it could expand to 80 students per class.

Ian Goodhew, director of government relations for UW Medicine, says they are grateful. "Believe me: In the kind of budget year it was with McCleary, we were extremely thankful to the legislature for supporting what they did," Goodhew tells the Inlander.

WSU and UW share a goal of solving the shortage of primary care docs in Eastern Washington. Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, said "it is critical we fund our region's medical education institutions so we can ensure that families in rural, underserved areas have the same access to quality care as their urban neighbors."

Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, called the funding a "big win for Eastern Washington." (WILSON CRISCIONE)