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The Prosecution Rests: Longtime Deputy DA Tom Thurman Retires

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 21, 2016

Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman stood before the jury in the Brandon Vandenburg rape trial on Saturday, giving his last closing argument of his career.

“You follow you heart and your mind, you know what a just verdict is,” Thurman said to the jury.  “If you do that, justice will be done.”

With that, a storied 39-year career as one of Nashville's top prosecutors was also done. 

Thurman -- the man behind the prosecution of Nashville's biggest crimes spanning nearly 40 years -- said he was preparing to retire.

Thurman was the prosecutor in the Marcia Trimble Murder case from back in 1975, eventually prosecuting the man who killed the 9-year-old girl who was last seen selling Girl Scout cookies in the Green Hills neighborhood.

Thurman also prosecuted the so-called “Fast Food Killer,” following Paul Reed's 1997 murder spree in which he killed seven people at fast food chains in Nashville and Clarksville, many of them execution- style.

Another case he's known for was the prosecution of Perry March, convicted of murdering his wife Janet March in 1996.

The victims and the suspects all would become household names in Middle Tennessee.

Thurman said along with the job, has come a lot of stress that has added up over the years.

“It is tough, that's probably the toughest part of being a prosecutor, things you have to deal with on a daily basis and things you have to see happening out there,” Thurman said.

But he said he has never wavered from his role as a helping hand during a crime victim's trying times.

“You learn how people deal with such tragedy, and you learn as you get more experienced how to help them deal with it as much as you can,” he said.

Thurman said he's looking forward to bike rides, fishing trips and opportunities to volunteer with his church, and didn't think much about a legacy he wants to leave behind.

“Just that I was a person who attempted to be fair, seek justice, protect the innocent and pursue the guilty which is basically what our oath says we're supposed to do,” Thurman said. “It was a stressful job but a very rewarding job. “I don’t think I could have picked it any better, I don’t think.”

Thurman said he will keep his law license, in case he wants to serve as a special prosecutor in the future. His last day on the job was set for July 15.