Tuesday, November 29, 2005

NOVEMBER 16, 2005

...Relatives bringing Christmas gifts to the home were greeted with the horror of discovering the three bodies...

Last Meal: Thomas has no final meal request.

The skinny: Thomas was executed for a Christmas Eve killing spree that left a man and two of his children dead.

More skinny: On Christmas Eve in Baytown, Police discovered the body of a man in the living room of his home, his arms and torso were bound with duct tape, and he was covered in blood. He had been shot three times, twice in the head, and slashed with a steak knife that remained embedded in his neck. His two children, an 11 year old and a 10 year old, were found upstairs in the girl's room. Both were dead, lying facedown on the floor, side-by-side. Each had a single, fatal gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Thomas and Keith Bernard Clay had been past drug customers of the man, but on that Christmas Eve, they would later tell police, the pair came to the home looking to take the small time dope peddler for everything he had. The children were executed to eliminate witnesses.

Relatives bringing Christmas gifts to the home were greeted with the horror of discovering the three bodies.

Less than two weeks later, Thomas and Clay would be involved in another murder in Baytown. This time their target was a clerk at the Airwood Grocery Store on Park Street. Clay entered the convenience store and fired 10 shots at the man, hitting him six times. If that was not enough, the clerk was also beaten with the pistol. Thomas was the getaway driver.

Clay was executed on March 20, 2003 for the Varughese murder.

Wheels of justice turn slowly: It was almost two years before any arrests were made in the slayings. Thomas and Clay apparently told friends about the murders. When one of those friends was arrested on a drug charge, he gave police information implicating the two.

Uh, okay: On a Web site where death row inmates seek pen pals, he described himself as "a very honest person and those are the type of people with whom I choose to associate myself with."

Money quote: "When you're at a murder scene looking at dead kids and there's Christmas presents around and you look at the TV and 'It's A Wonderful Life' is playing, it took me five years before I could watch that movie again," a Baytown detective said Tuesday.

Last words and such: "I want you to be strong and get through this time. Do not fall back. Keep going forward. Don't let this hinder you. Let everybody know I love them." Thomas mentioned several people by their first names, telling his sister to tell them he loved them and to stay strong. "This is kind of hard to put words together. I am nervous and it is hard to put my thoughts together. Sometimes you don't know what to say. I hope these words give you comfort. ... Let everybody know I love them and love is unconditional as mama always told us. I may be gone in flesh but I am always with you in spirit."

Factoids: Thomas was the....

52nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
996th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
19th murderer executed in Texas in 2005
355th murderer executed in Texas since 1976