Hearing delayed in Hope shooting case

Court hearings for a Hope man accused of shooting his wife three summers ago have been postponed for the sixth time.

Thomas Venable, 72, is accused of shooting his wife, Linda Venable, 70, twice in the chest with a .22 caliber pistol following an argument on June 27, 2020.

After the shooting, Linda Venable was alert and talking before being flown by Lifeline helicopter to the University of Louisville Hospital. On Thursday, Hope Town Marshall Matt Tallent said the victim was recovering when he saw her last.

Thomas Venable was charged with attempted murder as a Level 1 felony, as well as battery by means of a deadly weapon as a Level 5 felony, court records state. If found guilty on both charges, the defendant, who is now using a wheelchair, could be sentenced to between 21 to 46 years in prison.

During a scheduled change of plea hearing Thursday in Bartholomew Circuit Court, defense attorney Mike DeArmitt informed Judge Kelly Benjamin there has been a “change in (Thomas Venable’s) diagnosis.”

“We need additional exploration to discuss this matter with the treating physician and with the state to see where we need to go next,” DeArmitt said.

While the defense attorney declined to discuss the new diagnosis in open court, DeArmitt did have to explain every action to his client as it was taking place. That included when he was being wheeled to the defense table, and when it was time to leave after the hearing concluded.

Three days after the shooting, the prosecutor’s office gave notice they had confidential information in the case, and successfully requested that it be withheld from the public record. What was made public was that Thomas Venable told police he was planning to commit suicide after he killed his wife, a probable cause affidavit states.

Since the court docket is excessively busy for the remainder of the year, Benjamin scheduled a pre-trial or change of plea hearing for Jan. 9 at 9 a.m. Jury selection is tentatively set for Feb. 14 at 8:30 a.m.

In the affidavit, investigators wrote the couple had been arguing just prior to the 8:20 a.m. shooting. If was after Linda Venable told her husband she was leaving the house and began changing her clothes that she was shot, the court record states.

“She said that Thomas fired the pistol until it was empty,” according to the probable cause affidavit. “Linda called 911 after she was shot, and while she was on the line, she could hear Thomas reloading the pistol.”

That’s when the victim fled outside and was met by Hope Police officers Rick Everroad and Tony Wilson, the affidavit states.

After Linda Venable was taken to a safe location, Everroad and Wilson ordered the husband to come outside. Thomas Venable complied, and was taken into custody without further incident.