Friday, January 22, 2010

"Controlling" dad stabs mom to death in front of their 1-year-old child (Peoria, Illinois)

Dad CLARENCE R. THOMAS has been jailed after stabbing his "estranged" wife to death in front of their 1-year-old son. The mom had three children with her killer, all of whom are now obviously motherless.

There are a couple of major problems with this article.

In an artificial effort to create "balance," note how the reporter dutifully reports every word the victim's so-called "friends" say, as they engage in some classic blame-the-victim tactics. It's Mom's fault for getting herself killed because she "riled him up"? Bull malarkey. Why does the press play footsy with these evil people and their little tit-for-tat games? Was Mom stabbing him at the same time? No. So who was at fault here?

Also, the reporter mentions that there were four orders of protection, but doesn't give any context for why the mom "dropped" them. It's not out of carelessness or stupidity. It's out of fear, as any research into domestic violence would make clear. But you wouldn't know that from reading this account.

The truth? Read carefully and it's loud and clear, though the actual facts are scattered like buckshot.

Dad was uniformly bad news. MULTIPLE orders of protection taken out againt him, AND NOT JUST BY THE MOM. Mom relocating half way across the country (Miami, Florida to Peoria, Illinois) in an attempt to just get away from him. Threats to kill her as early as 2005. Attempts to dodge child support. Allegations of child abuse, including physical abuse of the daughter and the exposure of the son to pornograpy. Convictions for domestic battery. And finally stabbing mom to death (more than 30 wounds) in front of an adult witness and two young children, one of whom the killer was the daddy of.

What else can you possibly add to make it any clearer that this is a major @$$wipe?

Hat tip to Annie for finding this.

Slaying victim had orders of protection against estranged husband

Journal Star
Posted Jan 20, 2010 @ 06:38 PM
Last update Jan 20, 2010 @ 09:31 PM

PEORIA — Days after following his estranged wife from Miami to Peoria, a 42-year-old man is jailed on charges he killed her with a knife.

Authorities said Clarence R. Thomas, who was listed as homeless, stabbed Martha Thomas, 38, mother of their three children, dozens of times while she sat in a car also occupied by their 1-year-old son Tuesday night.

"He was a very controlling man," friend Caryn Evans said.

"It had to be his way or no way. That's how it ended up, his way. I just don't understand how he could do it in front of their son. Their kids have lost their mother, their father, and they're never going to forget it."

Police found the woman lying next to a car and bleeding in the 800 block of Northeast Adams Street near Wayne Street after being called there about 6 p.m. She was pronounced dead at 6:45 p.m. at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said Martha Thomas had stab wounds to her head, neck, back, arms and hands. After an autopsy Wednesday, Ingersoll said Martha Thomas died as the result of more than 30 stab wounds, the most lethal of which severed the left carotid artery in her neck.

According to authorities and friends of Martha Thomas, the couple had been living in Miami for about seven months before she moved back to her native Peoria on Oct. 17 to get away. He arrived back in Peoria on Saturday, friends said.

Against advice from loved ones, Martha Thomas had recently been talking on the phone with her husband, said Karen Pruitt, 51, a friend referred to by Martha as "Mom."

"I was always scared to death of Clarence," Pruitt said. "I told her this was going to happen. She just wouldn't believe me.

"They did this to each other constantly. They always aggravated each other. She went there to rile him up (Tuesday)."

Martha Thomas was in the front passenger seat of a car driven by her roommate, Tonya Knackmuhs, 31, of 1402 Lake Ave. Also in the car were the driver's 5-year-old daughter and the estranged couple's 1-year-old, police said.

Accounts vary as to whether Clarence Thomas was in the car or standing next to it when an argument ensued. He demanded she get out and she refused, authorities and friends said.

At some point he began stabbing her, authorities said. The victim fell from the car, and Knackmuhs called police.

Officers found the suspect standing by a house in the 900 block of Northeast Madison Avenue, about two blocks from where Martha Thomas lived until recently moving in with Knackmuhs. Clarence Thomas was arrested and booked Tuesday night at Peoria County Jail on a charge of first-degree murder. He has not formally been charged, and no bond has been set.

"She was such a funny person," Evans said. "I'll always remember that, no matter what, she was a friend. If she knew a friend was in need, Martha was always the first one there. Martha is a person you could never forget."

The couple had a turbulent relationship beginning before they were married in August 2005. A year earlier, Martha Thomas had filed an order of protection, the first of four. In her petition, she alleged her then-boyfriend, Clarence Thomas, was "very abusive and controlling." The petition said Clarence Thomas had told Martha Thomas he wanted to kill her at some point.

That order was dismissed voluntarily by her.

Within six months of their nuptials, another order of protection was filed at the beginning of 2006. Then, Martha Thomas alleged she caught her husband in bed with a former girlfriend in their house. She tried to leave but felt threatened by him and came back home. That, too, was voluntarily dropped.

A few months later, another petition was filed, alleging much of the same as in the past. She ended her complaint with "I just want my life back."

Again, the petition was voluntarily dropped.

In 2007, Clarence Thomas filed for divorce, but that was tossed out a year later by a judge who said Clarence Thomas knew his wife was pregnant and didn't put that in divorce papers because he didn't want the responsibility, according to court records.

Along the way, orders of protection were filed against Clarence Thomas by his former landlord in West Peoria and a former girlfriend, all alleging much of the same behavior as ones filed by Martha Thomas.

Then on Dec. 16, Martha Thomas filed her last order of protection. In that petition, which was scheduled to be heard in court on Wednesday, she said Clarence Thomas had hit her 3-year-old daughter with a belt on her leg, was mean to the couple's three children and allowed his 7-year-old son to watch pornographic movies with him.

"(He ) told him that this is what a man does to a woman like you," the petition alleges, adding Martha Thomas felt her husband was "grooming" the young boy for possible molestation.

That petition still is pending in Peoria County Circuit Court and has a court hearing set for next month, as the children also are listed as possible parties to the case.

Clarence Thomas had previous misdemeanor convictions for domestic battery and retail theft in Peoria County.

Pruitt said Martha Thomas has no immediate family, and the couple's children are living with friends. Pruitt said she met Martha Thomas while they both were homeless and staying at the South Side Mission in 2004. Pruitt, who now lives in West Peoria and volunteers at the mission, said she became a mother figure.

"She needed somebody to love her and make her feel worth more than she thought she was worth," Pruitt said. "She had a big heart. She was kind and funny and she loved her children."