INDIANAPOLIS — Thomas Talley had already spent enough time in prison to know he didn’t want to go back.
“He told me that he was facing at least 40 years in jail and he wasn’t too happy about it,” said Michelle Boucher, a neighbor at the house where Talley was shot to death by IMPD SWAT team officers Sunday morning as investigators said he held his girlfriend hostage at gunpoint.
In the last 13 months, IMPD officers had been to the house Talley shared with his girlfriend in the 500 block of South Holt Road nine times: Responding to suicide attempts and threats, thefts, domestic violence and methamphetamine investigations.
”He did say one of the charges had something to do with meth and other items that they found on him when they arrested him,” said Boucher as she recalled a recent conversation with Talley. ”He just kept talking about how much he loved her and that he couldn’t believe that she got him in so much trouble that he was gonna end up in jail for 40 years and he was blaming everything on her and her friends.”
Police and court records reviewed by FOX59 News indicate Talley’s relationship with his girlfriend was volatile, often marked by violence, drug investigations and self-destructive episodes.
”He didn’t want to let her go and she kept telling him to go away but he kept coming back,” said Boucher. ”He was the love of her life and she couldn’t understand why he treated her that way.”
Recent court filings indicate, “The victim…has alleged that the defendant has repeatedly threatened to kill her and has access to a firearm,” and, “(The victim) also alleged the defendant has threatened to shoot officers that may respond to her calls to law enforcement for help,” and, “the State believes that the defendant is a threat to the victim’s safety, law enforcement and himself.”
That threat was actualized Sunday when IMPD responded to the address on the report that Talley was holding the girlfriend captive in a back bedroom of the one-story house.
What followed was a 30-minute-long phone conversation with a relative in which Talley repeatedly apologized, said goodbye to family members, reconfirmed his opposition to returning to prison and taunted police to shoot him as he sought “suicide by cop,” according to a source who has heard the recorded audio of the phone call.
Talley was facing decades behind bars due to multiple methamphetamine charges and a count of being a habitual offender.
As a SWAT negotiator continued talks with Talley from behind a closed door, officers heard a gunshot, leading them to breach the door and open fire, killing the gunman.
Investigators are reviewing body-worn camera video from the four officers who fired their weapons.
IMPD has released a photograph of a gun, a machete, a knife and an apparent drug pipe found in the room not far from Talley’s body.
While Marion County prosecutors sought an enhanced bond for Talley as he awaited trial, they were thwarted in their attempt to prosecute him on domestic violence charges stemming from an early August arrest as the girlfriend eventually recanted her story.
Family members who spoke to FOX59 News indicated they wanted Talley to be remembered as a father and a brother even as they are also awaiting results of an autopsy and homicide investigation to determine what happened in that back bedroom Sunday morning.
Talley leaves behind a teenage daughter in the care of a relative as the child’s mother is serving a lengthy federal prison sentence.