Shannon Charles Thomas, 34, was executed by lethal injection on 16 November 2005 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of three people during a home robbery.
At about 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, 1993, members of Roberto Rios's family discovered three murder victims in Rios's Baytown home. Rios's body was downstairs. He had been severely beaten, stabbed in the neck with shears, and shot three times. Upstairs, Rios's children, Victor, 11, and Maria, 10, had been shot once in the head through a pillow as they lay side by side on the floor.
The day after the murders, Earl Guidry, a postal worker, contacted the police. He said that he was at the home delivering mail around noon the day of the shootings and noticed a beige or white car parked in front of the victims' home. As he delivered the mail, he saw two men walk down the driveway, get in the car, and leave. Also on the day after the murders, Keith Clay reported that his car, a white Cadillac with tinted windows, had been stolen.
The case remained unsolved for over a year, until a man arrested on a narcotics violation, Joseph Jones, implicated his friends, Shannon Thomas, and Keith Clay. Thomas and Clay were 22 and 25, respectively, at the time of the murders. Jones agreed to tape record a conversation with Thomas, in which Thomas made incriminating statements about the murders. Thomas was arrested. In his first statement, Thomas admitted that he knew Rios and had been to his home on several occasions, including the day of the crime, to buy marijuana, but he denied any knowledge of the killings. In a second statement, Thomas said that Clay, acting alone, killed the Rioses after he left.
A friend of Rios's testified that he visited the victims' home around noon on Christmas Eve to drop off some gifts for the children. He testified that he saw a white car with tinted windows parked in front of the home. Earl Guidry also identified Thomas as one of the two men he saw walking down the victims' driveway as he was delivering the mail around noon on the day of the crime. In addition to Jones, two other of Thomas's friends testified that Thomas had confessed the killings to them.
The prosecution stated that Thomas and Clay went to Rios's home to rob him because they had bought drugs from him before and assumed he had drugs and money to steal.
At Thomas's punishment hearing, the prosecution presented evidence that Thomas and Clay committed a convenience store robbery on 1 January 1994, in which a clerk, Melathethil "Tom" Varughese, was shot and killed.
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