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Wrongful death suit filed over Danville murder-suicide

January 29, 2011|By TODD KLEFFMAN

Sharon and Thomas Douglas endured a violent relationship that ended tragically last year when Thomas Douglas shot his wife to death before killing himself inside their Danville home.

Now survivors from each family are on opposite sides in court as Sharon Douglas’s estate has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of her late husband.

Diane Reynolds of Gravel Switch, Sharon Douglas’s sister and administratrix of her estate, filed the complaint Wednesday in Boyle Circuit Court.

Along with wrongful death, the lawsuit alleges that Sharon Daugherty suffered bodily injury, pain and suffering and intentional infliction of emotional distress at the hands of Thomas Douglas over the course of their relationship, which was rife with episodes of domestic violence.

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The complaint, filed by Danville attorney Patrick McClure, seeks unspecified compensatory punitive and compensatory damages.

The estate of Thomas Douglas has not yet responded to the allegations.

A family member discovered the bodies of Sharon and Thomas Douglas, both 49, inside their Fourth Street home. Both were dead from gunshot wounds to the head from a .38-caliber pistol and police determined it was a case of murder/suicide.

Records reveal that police were called to the Douglas residence three times from 2008 through 2010 with Thomas Douglas being charged with domestic violence. The court issued no-contact orders for Thomas Douglas, though his wife later petitioned the court to allow contact to resume.

The complaint also seeks all of the net proceeds from Thomas Douglas’s estate. 

According to the lawsuit, Thomas Douglas’s son, Thomas Douglas Jr., was originally the administrator of his father’s estate and failed to list some of his father’s assets in probate court.

Some, but not all, assets were later added to the list and the younger Douglas stated in court that he had sold or was in the process of selling some of his late father’s property, according to the lawsuit. 

Thomas Douglas Jr. removed himself as administrator last month and the court appointed attorney Linda Huston as public administrator of the estate.

The estate of Sharon Douglas believes “that the damages and fees claimed herein will far exceed the net value of the estate of Thomas Douglas Sr. … and therefore judgment for all net proceeds is appropriate as a matter of law,” the lawsuit states.

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