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Testimony begins in love-triangle shooting trial

LOCKPORT – Testimony began in State Supreme Court Tuesday in the trial of Thomas M. Lasher of the Town of Niagara, who shot a man who was having an affair with his wife.

“It’s not a whodunnit,” defense attorney Robert M. Goldstein told the jury in his opening statement. “It’s whether or not the people can prove that my client didn’t act in self-defense.”

The shooting victim, Douglas Walck, 44, testified that a slug from Lasher’s 20-gauge shotgun “obliterated my small intestines” at the front door of his home in the Expressway Village mobile home park in the Town of Niagara on New Year’s Eve 2014.

At the time, Walck had been living with Kelly Lasher, Thomas Lasher’s estranged wife, for a month. After a year, most of which Walck spent in the hospital undergoing at least six surgeries, Kelly Lasher left him and went back to her husband on Miller Road in the Town of Niagara.

Walck had four 24-hour security cameras installed outside his home. Assistant District Attorney Ryan K. Parisi told the jury that they should look for “who started it, who escalated it, who used deadly physical force, who could have retreated.”

Walck testified that Lasher came into the house and had a discussion with Kelly about 11:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve. “It sounded like a struggle,” he said, so he left the bedroom where Kelly had asked him to wait. He said he saw Kelly trying to hold Thomas back.

Walck said Thomas Lasher struck him in the face, so he punched Lasher in the face “half-a-dozen times” and shoved him out the front door, causing him to tumble down three or four steps. Goldstein told the jury that’s when Lasher suffered a broken leg.

Walck testified, “I said, ‘Get out of here. Don’t come back. If you come back, I’m going to (expletive) kill you.’”

He said he watched the monitor connected to the video cameras and saw Lasher sitting in the van for a moment before exiting and walking back toward the trailer home. Walck said he grabbed a 3-foot-long metal closet rod and headed for the door.

“I turned and said to Kelly, ‘I don’t know what he wants, but if he wants to fight me, it’s gonna go down.’” Walck stepped through the front door and saw Lasher “had something behind his back. … I didn’t know he had a shotgun until I saw the barrel and he fired it.”

Kelly Lasher testified there was no fight and said Walck followed her husband out the door. “Doug went outside and then came back in and got a pole,” she said. “He had the pole and told Tom he was going to kill him.”

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said this version was completely at odds with Kelly’s statement to police that night, and asked to have Kelly declared a hostile witness.

Her stepson, Jerald Lasher, testified that Thomas returned to the Miller Road home, using the shotgun as a crutch, and said he shot Walck. “I asked him what he was thinking,” Jerald said. Asked what his father said then, Jerald answered, “He wasn’t.”

Jerald Lasher, 26, is in the Niagara County Jail after being arrested Dec. 21 on a first-degree rape charge. .