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A state appeals court overturned the convictions in 1997 due to the trial judge not allowing the defense to mention Thomure in court. In 1999, in a subsequent trial, Woodworth was again convicted and handed four life sentences.
At that second trial in 1999, Thomure denied any involvement in the crime. Neither jury saw police reports showing that Thomure violated Rochelle's protective order on several occasions after the slaying.
Thomure, who has a history of violent altercations since leaving Chillicothe, has been key to Woodworth's subsequent appeals. Woodworth's attorneys and supporters insist that Thomure is still the most likely suspect. They've brought forward witnesses who have contradicted his alibi, claiming that they saw Thomure in Chillicothe shortly before the shooting. Some of those witnesses say they contacted investigators 23 years ago but were never asked for follow-up statements or interviews. One of Thomure's former friends testified before Judge Oxenhandler that Thomure threatened to kill him during a 2008 argument and bragged about getting away with murder.
Thomure has insisted that a wrestling buddy drove him from Independence to Chillicothe the morning after the killing. However, in a deposition taken this past September, Thomure's friend told lawyers that he didn't drive Thomure to Chillicothe until two days after the shooting. In an October 14 deposition, another former friend of Thomure's said he witnessed Thomure bragging "about how he had shot a couple of people in Chillicothe because they didn't want him to date their daughter."
Thomure, who did not return requests for comment from The Pitch, told the Associated Press in 2009 that he "went through hell for nine years" due to the case. Thomure took the Fifth during a 2011 hearing before Judge Oxenhandler.
"Though Thomure only briefly testified in court, his demeanor was that of a cool, tough guy," Oxenhandler wrote in his case review. If ever there was a time to guess that Thomure's "answers would have been unfavorable to him, this is it."
The partnership between Claude Woodworth and Lyndel Robertson cratered months after the homicide. Claude says he split the business after hearing rumors that Lyndel considered him a suspect. Claude soon accused Lyndel of stealing from the partnership. A lawsuit followed.
By mid-1991, the investigation into Cathy Robertson's killing had stalled. A frustrated Robertson hired private detective Terry Deister, a former Platte County sheriff's deputy, who had left law enforcement amid allegations of promoting prostitution. (Deister has denied the allegations.) Deister teamed up with Gary Calvert, Livingston County's chief sheriff's deputy, who had led the first Robertson murder investigation. The two kept Deister's involvement in the case a secret from the local sheriff.
Calvert gave Deister access to everything, including the active criminal case file and key evidence.
Deister was quick to rule out a lead that had stumped investigators. The night of the shooting, local farmer Chris Ruoff says he drove past the Robertson home twice: on a trip into town to drop off his girlfriend, then on his way back, when he spotted a car parked outside the Robertson home around midnight. Investigators also found tire tracks heading east toward town — not west toward the Woodworth home.
Deister and Calvert sought to disprove Ruoff's story in the fall of 1991. They parked Deister's car in front of the Robertson home one night. After walking up and down the road, they determined that it was too dark to see the car, and Ruoff was either mistaken or lying.
Ruoff insisted that he saw the vehicle. So Deister and Calvert asked Ruoff if he had been having an affair with Cathy Robertson.