LOCKPORT – The prosecution asked for the maximum sentence, the defense asked for the minimum, and State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. came down in the middle Tuesday in the case of a man who nearly killed his wife’s lover on New Year’s Eve 2014.
Thomas H. Lasher, 50, of Miller Road, Town of Niagara, will serve 15 years in state prison plus five years of post-release supervision. As it happens, that sentence is the same as the maximum term would have been if Lasher had accepted a plea offer before his trial.
He was convicted by a jury Feb. 26 of attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault for shooting Douglas K. Walck, 44, in the stomach with a 20-gauge pump-action shotgun on the front steps of Walck’s home in the Expressway Village mobile home park in the Town of Niagara.
The shot was fired from about 30 feet away after Lasher had confronted Walck in the home. Walck punched Lasher in the face several times and shoved him down the steps; Lasher suffered a broken leg when he landed on the pavement, limped back to his van and came back with the shotgun.
Walck saw him coming through a video monitor connected to security cameras that he had installed outside the home and stepped outside to renew the confrontation.
Lasher’s wife, Kelly, had left him for Walck about a month before the shooting, which left Walck severely wounded. He had 70 percent of his intestines removed during a succession of surgeries.
After shooting Walck, Lasher fired two more shotgun blasts, damaging the door, walls and window of the mobile home, in what Niagara County Assistant District Attorney Ryan K. Parisi alleged was an attempt to “finish off” Walck, who had returned inside after being shot. Lasher then drove home, where he was arrested.
Lasher said that when he tells fellow inmates why he’s in jail, “most people respond that they would have killed both of them. I ask them if they’ve ever heard of Moses and the Ten Commandments.”
Lasher, who said people used to teasingly call him “Reverend” because of his strong Catholic beliefs, told the judge, “I was hurt. I lost my mind and my self-control. I wasn’t trying to kill Doug. God doesn’t want me to kill anyone.”
“A Catholic, a Christian, doesn’t shoot someone in the stomach and drive away,” Kloch replied.
“The act speaks for itself. It was reprehensible.”
Parisi asked for the maximum 25-year sentence. “This particular crime was inexcusable on every level. But for the grace of God, we’d be here talking about a murder conviction,” Parisi said. “This man hunted (Walck) down like a deer with that hunting shotgun.”
Defense attorney Robert M. Goldstein said, “We have a man who spent his whole life, 50 years, doing what was appropriate. … What it was, was a slow simmer, coming to a boil, in his relationship with his wife.”
On the day of the shooting, Lasher spent time with his wife and made plans to attend a concert with her that night, thinking they would be getting back together. But after several phone calls, Lasher went to Walck’s home and found his wife there in nightclothes. About a year after the shooting, Kelly Lasher left Walck and went back to her husband, according to testimony at the trial.