LIMA — A Lima Police detective testified in court Friday about the events leading up to the death of 32-year-old Valeda Thomas, who was allegedly shot and killed by Timothy Brown, 48, on Oct. 3.
Brown, of Lima, appeared in Lima Municipal Court for his preliminary hearing with Magistrate David A. Cheney. Sean Neidemire, a Lima Police detective, said Brown has changed his story for a third time since incident happened.
“The initial report from officers was that Tim Brown told them that she had shot herself,” he said.
Neidemire said that the autopsy revealed the gun, a 925 caliber Deringer, had to have been at least 18 to 24 inches away from her at the time that it was discharged. Next, he shared a second story Brown told detectives.
“During the interview, Mr. Brown stated that they had been out partying, drinking, and there was a disagreement over some money, $50,” he said. “Mr. Brown, after they returned home, was going to leave again to a friend's house. He stated that Ms. Thomas did not want him to do that and when he returned from going to the bathroom, she had a pistol in her hand. Mr. Brown said that she pointed it at him and he flung his arm, like this, and the gun went off.”
But Neidemire said Brown changed his statement one more time after that.
“We discussed this further with him and he later changed his statement to he was going to take it away from her and she reached out to grab it again, and he pulled it back and the gun went off,” he said.
Neidemire testified the bullet entered Thomas’ left nostril and when he arrived on scene, Brown was outside and Thomas was inside on the couch with blood covering her face.
Before the preliminary hearing began, Brown’s mother offered an apology to Thomas’ family.
“She had been with me the night before, the night of her death. I don’t know what to tell you all. Myself, I haven’t been through anything like this before, I haven’t either but I do apologize for what has happened,” she said. “I know that my son did not kill her intentionally."
Thomas’ family did not respond well to the apology.
“I don’t believe it. Ma’am please, just go, just go, we do not want to hear it,” one woman said. “The way he shot her in her head, I don’t believe it.”
Cheney decided with Neidemire’s testimony plus the severity of the charge, he would continue Brown’s bond, set at $1 million.
“The court will continue the bond based on the weapon involved and its probable use and based on what I heard here today and the flight risk associated with these chances,” he said.
Cheney also said there was probable cause to bound the case over to Allen County Common Pleas Court, pursuant to a grand jury indictment.
Brown has also been charged with assault, a case in which Thomas was subpoenaed, according to Lima Municipal Courts website.
Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick said Brown also had additional charges of a felony theft in 1989, burglary in 1984 and 1989, battery in 1985, robbery in 1992, felony use of a weapon in 1996, theft in 1998, burglary in 2002 and controlled substance use in 2006. Some of these charges, he said, are from out of state.
Brown was represented by public defender Jerry Pitts on Friday.
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Timothy Brown case