Defense hoping to overturn guilty verdict
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Less than two weeks after a jury found a Rapid City man guilty of trying to acquire a gun to kill a Regional Health doctor, the defense is seeking to have the verdict overturned.
William Thoman, 63, of Rapid City was found guilty on Aug. 22 of criminal solicitation to aiding and abetting first-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing scheduled for Sept. 20. The maximum penalty is 50 years in prison.
According to documents filed Wednesday evening, defense attorney Ellery Grey, says the jury found Thoman guilty of asking a witness “to help him commit murder by asking for a firearm” but argues asking for “help” isn’t the same as aiding or abetting. He adds that because the crime of first-degree murder was never committed, Thoman could not have solicited “someone to aid or abet him in that crime.”
During the trial, a witness testified to refusing twice to provide Thoman with a gun. The first time in believing the gun would be used for suicide and the second after learning Thoman’s actual intention of killing the doctor. Grey argues that because the witness never agreed to provide the gun to kill the doctor, he was not solicited.
Thoman was previously charged with attempted first-degree murder but the state dropped the charges prior to the trial. He still faces two criminal solicitation charges in a separate case. Thoman is expected to appear in Pennington County court on those charges on Sept. 18.