Suspect's Trip to Funeral Home Decried

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The top District Court judge in Montgomery County allowed Thurmon Herring, the Silver Spring man accused of fatally shooting his two sons last week, to leave jail briefly to attend a private viewing of the brothers Friday.

Administrative Judge Eugene Wolfe's decision to permit Herring, 44, to travel to the funeral home angered prosecutors, who did not have a chance to weigh in on the defense's request that he be given "compassionate leave."

"This should not have occurred in this fashion," Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said yesterday.

McCarthy said he has spoken to Wolfe and to Herring's attorney, Montgomery County Public Defender Paul DeWolfe, to express his disappointment.

"I plan to sit down with both of them to make sure that something like this never happens again," McCarthy said.

A Maryland judiciary spokesman said Wolfe declined to comment on the matter because the case is open.

DeWolfe said he made the request for compassionate leave at the Herring family's suggestion. "The request came from the family, including his wife," DeWolfe said. "She was very much in favor of it."

But McCarthy said members of his staff who have spoken to Herring's wife, Katrina, told him that she was "very upset" about the viewing.

Katrina Herring could not be reached for comment.

Thurmon Herring was arrested July 30 in the fatal shooting of his sons, Jeremy, 18, and Justin, 20. Police said he shot the brothers as they slept and tried to set the family's house on fire.

Later that day, Herring called 911 and told a dispatcher that he had killed his sons and his wife. But Herring's wife was not harmed, and it is unclear why he indicated that he had killed her, authorities said.

Herring was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is being held without bond. A relative who spoke at the funeral Saturday said Herring suffers from "mental illness and depression."

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