Ohio Woman Pleads Guilty to Killing Boyfriend, Shooting Herself to Fake Burglary While on the Phone with Cops

“Deborah Frazier stood behind Thomas Waddell... raised his .22 caliber pistol... and executed him in his living room,” states the woman's plea

<p>Muskingum County Sheriff

Muskingum County Sheriff's Office

Deborah L. Frazier

A woman in Ohio pleaded guilty to killing her boyfriend after previously claiming that he had been shot dead and that she had been injured during a robbery at his apartment.

The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office shared in a news release that Deborah L. Frazier, 36, from Zanesville, pleaded guilty to murder with a firearm specification, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse in connection to the death of her boyfriend Thomas Waddell. Her plea was made during a hearing at Muskingum County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

The case stems from an incident that occurred on Aug. 10, 2023, in which authorities said Frazier called 911 claiming that she had entered her boyfriend’s apartment and found “two burglars.” 911 operators said a gunshot was heard and Frazier claimed on the phone that she had been “shot” in the leg by the intruders as they were leaving.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found Waddell “wrapped in a blanket and a garbage bag and secured with duct tape” in the back room of his apartment.

However, upon further investigation, police found that Frazier’s claims of a home invasion and burglary did not add up as it still appeared “well-kept and orderly” and nothing valuable was missing from the apartment, including Waddell’s firearms. Officers also were unable to find any video footage from security cameras around the apartment and nearby businesses of intruders leaving the place.

An autopsy done on Waddell revealed that he had been dead “more than 12 hours” before Frazier called police and that he “had been murdered within around 4 hours” of 9:00 p.m. local time on Aug. 9, 2023.

<p>Muskingum County Sheriff's Office</p> Deborah L. Frazier

Muskingum County Sheriff's Office

Deborah L. Frazier

Investigators later determined that Frazier had another boyfriend at the time, who authorities say she “manipulated” into “posing as a bank fraud investigator” in order to make calls to Waddell. However, police noted that he had not known she was also dating Waddell.

Authorities also shared in a Statement of Facts from the plea that Frazier created a fake fraud email account in which she posed as a “fraud claims representative” reaching out to Waddell.

Financial records obtained by detectives showed that Frazier shared a joint account with Waddell  “and that its balance had been drawn down to $2,000” — which made them believe that the crime was committed for financial reasons.

Days later, a forensic search of Frazier’s phone revealed that she had searched for information relating to “how to load a revolver pistol” and “how to uncock the hammer on a revolver,” per the document. Officers also found Frazier’s DNA on the trash bags and duct tape around Waddell’s body when he was found.

“After days of planning, on the evening of Aug. 9, 2023, Deborah Frazier stood behind Thomas Waddell as he sat in his recliner. She raised his .22 caliber pistol, aimed it at the back of his head, and executed him in his living room,” the Statement of Facts from the plea read. “She then set about covering up her crime in dramatic, but unsuccessful fashion.”

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Authorities noted that Frazier had a history of making up false allegations in the past, including alleging she was assaulted in 2014 and attacked by a man wearing a hoodie in 2023, which were both later found to have been untrue.

“Frazier deserves and will serve a life sentence for her crime,” Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Litle said in a release. “This plea allows her to accept responsibility and eliminates the risks associated with a trial on the horrific and tabloid-esque facts of this case.”

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