Ohio Woman Faked Robbery, Shot Herself in the Leg to Cover Up Boyfriend's Murder

Deborah L. Frazier
Deborah L. Frazier Facebook

An Ohio woman pleaded guilty to killing her boyfriend after previously claiming he had been shot dead and she was injured in a a robbery that took place 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.

Frazier Claimed Her Boyfriend was Shot Dead by 'Two Burglars' in His Apartment and She was Shot in the Leg

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.

Investigators Found Nothing Valuable Missing, Autopsy Confirmed Waddell was Dead for 'More than 12 Hours'

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.

Frazier Told Her Other Boyfriend She was a Live-In Nurse for Waddell and That He was Suffering from Dementia

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.

She reportedly told her other boyfriend that she was a live-in nurse for Waddell, who she claimed had dementia. She requested her other boyfriend leave a voicemail for Waddell pretending to be an agent from the bank.

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.

Frazier Searched 'How to Load a Revolver Pistol' on Her Phone, Her DNA Found on Trash Bags and Duct Tape on Waddell's Body

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."

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.