Part of wrongful death suit settled in 2016 homicide case
HUNTINGTON — A family has reached a partial settlement in a civil lawsuit in the 2016 death of Raymond Chapman, who was fatally shot by a love interest’s husband who is currently serving a prison sentence for the crime.
Bobby Edgar Thompson, 30, of Lesage, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2017 after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Raymond Christopher Chapman, 22, of Lesage, after finding his wife with Chapman in her vehicle.
Thompson had been charged with first-degree murder, but a plea deal was worked out with Cabell County prosecutors after it was alleged a former West Virginia state trooper in the case had been having an affair with Chapman’s wife, Courtney Thompson, after the investigation began.
A civil lawsuit was filed against the Thompsons last year and their car insurance agency, GEICO, who insured the 2011 Chevy Cruze owned by the Thompsons in which the shooting occurred. The suit claimed negligence against Bobby Thompson for killing Chapman and Courtney Chapman for not seeking medical attention in a timely fashion by driving to a nearby business instead of driving him to the hospital for help.
According to court officials for Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard, a partial settlement in the case was approved Tuesday at the Cabell County Courthouse. The settlement releases Courtney Thompson and GEICO from any future claims related to the incident in exchange for $25,000. The settlement also releases Bobby Thompson’s liability with respect to claims arising from his ownership or use of the vehicle, but not to the alleged negligence of the shooting itself.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Chapman’s only child, and relatives of Chapman were also given notice of the pending settlement, the agreement said.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Jessie Forbes, will receive 33 percent – $8,250 – of the settlement, along with an additional $1,126.62 in expenses and cost incurred. Chapman also currently has $7,329.70 in unpaid bills related to his death through St. Mary’s Medical Center and Cabell County EMS.
Courtney Thompson had previously said she was driving Chapman to his home along Cox Landing Road when the incident happened just yards away from their destination. Former testimony from state police showed after blocking Courtney Thompson’s vehicle, Bobby Thompson approached the truck, pulling a gun from behind his back and firing one shot into the ground nearby.
After Chapman would not exit the vehicle, Thompson pointed the gun at both occupants before allegedly firing at Chapman in close proximity. The bullet struck Chapman in his right upper arm, traveling through his armpit and into his chest, according to the trooper.
Chapman died shortly after as Courtney Thompson drove to a nearby golf course for help.
Bobby Thompson turned himself after the shooting, claiming self-defense after his wife’s truck allegedly started moving toward him.
Thompson is currently housed at the McDowell County Corrections Center. His next parole hearing is set for March 2020, and he has a projected release date of December 2023.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.