LOCKPORT – Thomas M. Lasher testified Thursday that he was afraid of Douglas Walck, the man he says stole his wife – until he fired a deer slug from a 20-gauge shotgun into Walck’s abdomen.
“I neutralized the threat,” Lasher told the State Supreme Court jury, which on Friday will decide his fate on charges that could send him to prison for as long as 25 years.
Lasher, 50, of Miller Road, Town of Niagara, is claiming that he shot Walck in self-defense at the front door of Walck’s home in the Expressway Village mobile home park in that town on New Year’s Eve 2014.
Lasher is charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault in the shooting of Walck, 44, who testified that he underwent six surgeries, including the removal of 70 percent of his small intestine, and remains in constant pain.
Lasher’s wife, Kelly Lasher, left him for Walck on Dec. 1, 2014. But Lasher said he thought they might be getting back together, to the point that they were planning to go to a concert on New Year’s Eve. But when Kelly didn’t show, Lasher headed for Walck’s home, and there was a confrontation.
“He started pushing me,” Lasher said of Walck. “I took a swing. Then I put my arms down and he started punching me.”
After battering Lasher’s face, Walck shoved him down the front steps, causing Lasher to break his left leg.
Lasher said he limped about 70 feet back to his van. “He was behind me and threatening me,” Lasher testified. “He threatened to kill me if I came back.”
But Lasher returned with the shotgun and shot Walck, who went back inside. Lasher then fired two more rounds trying to get inside the trailer before he decided to leave.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann contended that Lasher never was afraid of Walck. “Is that what you generally do with things you’re afraid of, go toward them?” she asked.
She said Lasher had time to leave. “Instead of turning on the ignition and driving away, you got your gun,” she said.
She also pointed out that Lasher, questioned by State Police Investigator Thomas Gibbons that night, never mentioned being in fear for his life. Nor did he mention the 3-foot closet rod that Walck testified he had in his hand.
“I had no idea what was important,” Lasher said.