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Christopher Thorson's 911 Call After He Shot His Wife 

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Old 11-09-2014, 05:31 PM
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Christopher Thorson's 911 Call After He Shot His Wife

In April 2012 a Mason County (Wash.) man dialed 911 to say he fatally shot his wife in a mercy killing. Christopher Thorson dialed 911 and talked to a dispatcher for 8 minutes until officers arrived. He later admitted that he shot his wife after an argument.

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A jury took a few hours last week to find a Lake Cushman man guilty of first-degree murder with a firearm after.

Christopher D. Thorson, 65, was found guilty Aug. 21 after a five-day trial of killing his wife, Vanessa Thorson, on April 12, 2012, at their home at 111 North Fairway Drive East at Lake Cushman.

Thorson was charged in April 2012 with domestic violence murder in the first degree with a firearm with aggravating circumstances. The jury returned a verdict at 5:30 p.m. after deliberating for much of the afternoon. "I think it was the proper verdict based on the facts and the law," Mason County Prosecutor Mike Dorcy said in a phone interview Thursday.

Thorson's sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 10. He faces a sentence of up to 26 years on the first-degree murder conviction, and an additional five years because the murder involved a firearm.

Thorson was an officer with the state Department of Corrections at the Washington Corrections Center at the time of the shooting.

The jury did not affirm two special verdicts that it was instructed to consider. The first asked them whether Thorson knew his wife was particularly vulnerable at the time of the shooting, and whether that vulnerability was a substantial factor in the crime.

The second special verdict asked if the crime exhibited deliberate cruelty.

If the jury agreed to the special verdicts, Mason County Superior Court Judge Toni Sheldon would have had the opportunity to sentence Thorson beyond the standard range, Dorcy said.

The jury was also instructed to consider lesser charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, if they did not find Thorson guilty of first-degree murder.

During his trial, Thorson admitted that he shot his wife of 37 years twice with a shotgun after they had been drinking and arguing.

However, his attorneys, Rick Cordes and James Laukkonen of Olympia, argued that Thorson was in an "alcohol-induced intoxication delirium," and was incapable of forming the intent to kill his wife or of premeditating the crime, both elements necessary for a first-degree murder conviction.

They said Thorson should be convicted of manslaughter.

Thorson's blood-alcohol level was 0.14 several hours after the shooting, when he was booked into the Mason County Jail. Vanessa Thorson's blood alcohol content when she was killed was 0.45.

Dorcy, who led the prosecution, said that based on Thorson's own statements, he picked out the shotgun from a chest full of several guns, assembled the gun, loaded it, shot his wife, disassembled the gun, and went out to his back porch to smoke and have a glass of wine before calling 911.

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Old 04-04-2017, 11:55 PM
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Re: Christopher Thorson's 911 Call After He Shot His Wife

That was... disturbing.

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Old 07-09-2017, 11:09 PM
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Re: Christopher Thorson's 911 Call After He Shot His Wife

ggwp i say

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Old 07-10-2017, 02:19 AM
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Re: Christopher Thorson's 911 Call After He Shot His Wife

this is why you dont get married if you plan on killing your spouse eventually, solves itself

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Old 09-10-2017, 12:29 AM
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Re: Christopher Thorson's 911 Call After He Shot His Wife

LAWRENCE-BERREY, J. Christopher Thorson appeals his first degree murder

conviction. He argues that the trial court erred in refusing to give his proposed

diminished capacity instruction. Because the trial court gave a voluntary intoxication

instruction which allowed Mr. Thorson to argue his theory of the case, we affirm.

FACTS

On April 12, 2012, after a week of heavy drinking, Christopher Thorson shot and

killed his wife, Vanessa Thorson, in their home. After the shooting, Mr. Thorson called

911 to report that he had just shot his wife and that he would be waiting on his back porch

for police to arrive. During a police interview, Mr. Thorson explained that his 37-year

marriage had been collapsing due to multiple stresses and that he and Ms. Thorson had
No. 32997-6-III
State v. Thorson


been arguing and drinking heavily before the shooting. An autopsy revealed that Ms.

Thorson's blood alcohol level at death was 0.45. Mr. Thorson's blood alcohol level was

estimated to be about 0.234 at the time of the shooting.

Mr. Thorson had difficulty remembering details of the shooting. For example, he

could remember shooting his wife while she was on the living room couch, but he could

not recall whether she was awake or asleep. When the detective asked Mr. Thorson what

he was thinking when he shot Ms. Thorson, he responded: "I don't personally think that I

ever made a decision because if I was rationally thinking I would never have done that.

But we may have sat and had an argument but would I have done anything to hurt her,

hell i[n] thirty seven years I never raised my hand to that woman." Ex. 11 at 48.

The State charged Mr. Thorson with premeditated first degree murder with a

firearm enhancement and alleged as aggravating factors that (1) Mr. Thorson knew or

should have known the victim was particularly vulnerable, and (2) Mr. Thorson

manifested deliberate cruelty to the victim.

Detective Jeffrey Rhoades interviewed Mr. Thorson shortly after the shooting and

testified at trial that "[i]t was apparent that [Mr. Thorson] was under the influence of

alcohol. I noted the odor of intoxicants on him as he spoke. He advised that he had been

drinking. However he was able to maintain communication with me for approximately, I



2

No. 32997-6-II1
State v. Thorson


believe the hour and 33 minutes I think is the total time on the recording. There was [sic]

times he would go off on other subjects, but he was always able to come back to the

subject we were talking about." Report of Proceedings (RP) at 233.

At trial, Stephen Manley Juergens, MD, a psychiatrist with a specialty in addiction

psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, testified for the

defense. He reviewed police reports and the blood alcohol test, interviewed Mr.

Thorson's family members, and listened to the recording of the 911 call, and Mr.

Thorson's interview with Detective Rhoades. According to Dr. Juergens, the Thorsons

had been heavy drinkers for many years and had engaged in binge drinking in the last

. several years, which he described as excessive drinking "for periods of hours to days."

RP at 276. He explained, "[i]t's not like four or five drinks every night, but that you start

to drink and lose control and drink heavily in-the evening, or over an extended period of

days." RP at 276. He noted that Mr. Thorson's history of alcohol-related problems began

when he was a teenager and included alcohol-related driving problems, personality

changes, significant marital problems, blackouts, and missed work.

Dr. Juergens testified that on April 3 or April 4, after an exhausting and

unwelcome move to accommodate Mr. Thorson's work, the Thorsons started a drinking

binge that culminated in the shooting on April 12. Dr. Juergens noted that Mr. Thorson

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Old 10-24-2017, 07:45 AM
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