The Ely Times

A jury sentenced Thomas Collman to prison for life without the possibility of parole for the 1996 murder of Damian Stach, a 3-year old boy who lived with Collman as his step-son at the time of the murder. In 1997, a jury found Collman guilty of first degree murder of Stach. The jury sentenced him to death for torturing and brutally beating and strangling the child to death.

In December of 2004, the Nevada Supreme Court authored an opinion that removed the possibility of the death penalty from Collman, which required a new sentencing hearing.

District Attorney Michael Wheable and Chief Deputy District Attorney James Beecher were the prosecutors on this case for the purpose of re-sentencing.

Wheable, who was the lead prosecutor on this case, said “While the jury imposed the maximum sentence allowed under Nevada law for this case, I am not satisfied. Nevada’s legal system failed this victim and his family. A murderer who is capable of beating and asphyxiating a 3-year-old child, should never taste freedom again.”

Collman at the time of the crime was training to be a correctional officer at the Ely State Prison. According to court documents, Collman stated Damian had fallen down a set of stairs.

“It is a tragedy that this case had to be litigated again 22 years after the crime and original guilty verdict. The possibility that the defendant in this case would have been paroled, was unconscionable on these facts. The jury’s verdict of life without parole for Mr. Collman is a statement that this community will never tolerate violence or murder on our most precious and vulnerable,” Wheable stated.