Man's defense in double murder death penalty case: Scientology made me do it

Discussion in 'Breaking and Major News about Scientology' started by triumph, Feb 6, 2019.

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  1. triumph

    triumph Patron Meritorious

    AZ Central

    Man's defense in double murder death penalty case: Scientology made me do it
    Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic Published 6:00 a.m. MT Feb. 6, 2019

    snippet

    PRESCOTT — He stands accused of using a hatchet to bludgeon his sister-in-law and her boyfriend to death and setting the house on fire to destroy any evidence. In a bid to escape the death penalty, he is trying a novel defense:
    Scientology made him do it.
    Kenneth Wayne Thompson is not arguing that Scientology turned him violent in March 2012. But he is saying his belief in the religion of Scientology helps explain his actions. In particular, he says, his devotion to Scientology's tenets led him on a 24-hour plus drive from his home in rural Missouri to the eventual murder scene in Arizona.
    Prosecutors say the marathon drive helps show Thompson committed the crimes with premeditation, an element of the first-degree murder convictions they are seeking. On each, the state of Arizona will ask for the death penalty.
    Thompson's attorneys will argue to the jury that the act was rational, if understood through the lens of Scientology. Thompson felt he needed to rescue a child, a nephew to his wife, because the boy's spiritual well-being was at risk.
    Neither the boy nor his sister were in the house at the time of the killings.

    snippet:
    In opening arguments last week in Prescott, Kenneth Thompson's defense attorney, Robert Gundacker, asked the jury to see the events that led to the killings through the eyes of Thompson, a devoted Scientologist.

    More @ Link
    https://www.azcentral.com/story/new...urder-case-scientology-made-me-do/2703324002/
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
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  2. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    I'm just curious as to why it took almost 7 years to bring this case to trial.

    Paul
     
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  3. Miss Ellie

    Miss Ellie Miss Ellie

    You can get delays if the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Anything the judge will grant. I am sure the judge is hoping for a plea deal so this can of worms does not spill out in his court room.
     
  4. chipgallo

    chipgallo Patron Meritorious

    The accused had inherited money but later claimed to not have money for experts needed by the defense. The judge looked into the financial issues and this took a while. Although much of the newspaper coverage is behind paywalls, I found a reference on a legal discussion site. He also ditched his defense attorney(s) in 2015.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  5. The_Fixer

    The_Fixer Class Clown

    Much as I hate to say it, but Scientology caused this?

    Really?

    Scientology causes a lot of grief, but somehow I feel this is all on him.

    And I hate being on Scientology's side under any circumstances.
     
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  6. triumph

    triumph Patron Meritorious

    AZ Central
    Arizona murder trial veers into the world of Scientology before jurors begin deliberation
    Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic Published 6:00 a.m. MT Feb. 16, 2019 | Updated 7:51 a.m. MT Feb. 16, 2019

    video
    PRESCOTT — Testimony in a capital double murder trial veered into the cosmos this week, with discussion of a warlord named Xenu, a story about the burial of souls in a volcano, thetans that live within human beings and other aspects of the Church of Scientology.
    A Canadian college professor testified for about 90 minutes about Scientology as part of the defense case being put on by attorneys for Kenneth Wayne Thompson, who faces two counts of first-degree murder and the possibility of being sentenced to death.
    Jurors were given the case late Friday after attorneys for both sides delivered closing arguments.
    The lesson on the history of Scientology was part of Thompson’s bid to escape the death penalty.

    more@link

    https://www.azcentral.com/story/new...gy-beliefs-kenneth-wayne-thompson/2838833002/
     
  7. Type4_PTS

    Type4_PTS Diamond Invictus SP

    Scientology CAN in my view cause temporary insanity, making people do crazy stuff.

    If the man fully believed Hubbard's words about psychiatrists this could have been a contributing factor in his actions.

    I'm not saying that he shouldn't be convicted of 1'st degree murder charges or shouldn't pay the price for what he did. I really don't enough about the case to have an opinion one way or the other. But becoming a true believing cult member can have extreme negative consequences. We've seen tragedies before and unfortunately will see them again in the future. Belief in crazy stuff can and does cause good people to do evil things.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  8. The_Fixer

    The_Fixer Class Clown

    Normally I would agree with your comments. We all know scientology makes people do pretty strange things, as with any extreme cult.

    In this case though, it does seem like he's clutching at straws for a defence. I could be wrong, IDK.
     
  9. triumph

    triumph Patron Meritorious

    the Daily Beast
    ARIZONA HATCHET KILLER
    Did Scientology Drive Kenneth Wayne Thompson to Commit Bloody Murder?

    In March of 2012, according to court testimony, a 28-year-old man named Kenneth Wayne Thompson told his wife and two kids he was taking a quick trip away from their home in Doniphan, Missouri to Memphis, Tennessee. Thompson’s mother and stepfather had died in a motorcycle accident eight months prior, leaving him with a small sum of money. The trip, he allegedly told his wife, had something to do with their estate. But after Thompson left his family, he didn’t go to Memphis. Instead, he drove 1,400 miles west to the small mountain town of Prescott Valley, Arizona, where he bludgeoned Penelope Edwards and Troy Dunn—his wife’s sister and her fiancé—to death with a hatchet, poured acid over their bodies, and set the house on fire.
    This month, in the opening arguments for a major, lengthy trial which could send Thompson to death row, defense attorneys laid out a daytime-soap subplot of an argument for Thompson’s detour: the Church of Scientology. Alongside the legalese of standard court documents, Thompson’s defense includes the Scientology “tone scale,” a diagram which purports to sketch the full spectrum of human emotion, multiple mentions of the phrase “eternal soul,” and the name Tom Cruise.
    The lawyers’ thesis hinged on the fact that the female victim’s son was receiving psychiatric treatment. Scientology, a religion the practice of which involves regular one-on-one meetings with a counselor to talk through emotional and mental problems (a ritual they call “auditing”), has a long, bitter opposition to psychiatry—a church spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the industry is “brutal” and rife with “human rights violations.” Thompson’s lawyers claim their client is a practicing member of the faith (the church denies any affiliation), whose opposition to mental health treatment led him to intervene on his nephew-in-law’s behalf.

    lots more@link
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/did-scientology-drive-kenneth-wayne-thompson-to-commit-bloody-murder
     
  10. triumph

    triumph Patron Meritorious

    GUILTY

    AZ Central

    Scientology defense fails as jury returns first-degree murder verdicts in Prescott trial
    Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic Published 12:29 p.m. MT Feb. 20, 2019 | Updated 12:43 p.m. MT Feb. 20, 2019

    He tried to convince jurors that his brutal slaying of two people in a Prescott Valley home was understandable when viewed through the lens of his Scientology beliefs.
    The jury did not buy it and, after just two hours of deliberation, found Kenneth Wayne Thompson guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday.
    Jurors will return on Friday to begin the sentencing phase, said Shelly Bacon, a spokeswoman for Yavapai County Superior Court. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case.
    Thompson’s attorneys used Scientology as part of a bid to spare their client the first-degree murder conviction and the possibility of a death sentence. They argued that Scientology explained why Thompson drove from his home in the Ozarks region of Missouri to the northern Arizona house of his sister-in-law that turned into a bloody and charred crime scene in March 2012.

    more@link
    https://www.azcentral.com/story/new...-trial-penelope-edwards-troy-dunn/2927347002/
     
  11. CommunicatorIC

    CommunicatorIC @IndieScieNews on Twitter

    The author of the story, Richard Ruelas, confirmed my understanding that during the penalty phase the defendant will still be permitted to argue Scientology indoctrination as a mitigating factor to avoid the death penalty.

    https://twitter.com/ruelaswritings/status/1098325839567933440

    [​IMG]
     
  12. triumph

    triumph Patron Meritorious

    AZ Central
    Scientology defense fails as jury returns first-degree murder verdicts in Prescott trial
    Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic Published 12:29 p.m. MT Feb. 20, 2019 | Updated 12:43 p.m. MT Feb. 20, 2019

    He tried to convince jurors that his brutal slaying of two people in a Prescott Valley home was understandable when viewed through the lens of his Scientology beliefs.
    The jury did not buy it and, after just two hours of deliberation, found Kenneth Wayne Thompson guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday.
    Jurors will return on Friday to begin the sentencing phase, said Shelly Bacon, a spokeswoman for Yavapai County Superior Court. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case.
    Thompson’s attorneys used Scientology as part of a bid to spare their client the first-degree murder conviction and the possibility of a death sentence. They argued that Scientology explained why Thompson drove from his home in the Ozarks region of Missouri to the northern Arizona house of his sister-in-law that turned into a bloody and charred crime scene in March 2012.
    Thompson used a hatchet and knife to kill his sister-in-law, Penelope Edwards, and her boyfriend, Troy Dunn, according to court testimony. He then poured acid over the bodies and set the house on fire before fleeing the scene.

    snippet
    Church teachings presented

    The L. Ron Hubbard House has been restored and is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. (Photo11: Church of Scientology Phoenix)

    The trial included references and testimony about the Church of Scientology, a religion started in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard. Some of the earliest meetings of believers of the faith originated while Hubbard lived in Phoenix in a home at the base of Camelback Mountain.
    MORE: Trial veers into the particulars of Scientology
    “Why is Scientology even injected into this trial? Scientology is not on trial; the defendant is. Scientology did not kill (the victims); the defendant did.”

    Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Steve Young, in closing arguments last week
    Jurors heard an expert in the religion testify about its origins, including the story of a warlord named Xenu who buried beings in a volcano on what is now Planet Earth. The expert also spoke about the use of introspective counseling called “auditing” that can rid the body of unwanted thetans, leaving a person in the desired state of “clear.”

    A Church of Scientology spokesperson, Karin Pouw, in a statement sent to The Republic, expressed regret that the religion was the subject of the trial, saying the testimony about Scientology was distorted and incorrect, contributing to “hate, intolerance and bigotry.”
    “There is no connection between Scientology beliefs and practices and any act taken by Kenneth Thompson at issue in the case,” the statement read. “Nothing he did could be more opposed to our moral code.”


    In closing arguments last week, Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Steve Young echoed that sentiment. .
    "Why is Scientology even injected into this trial?" he asked. "Scientology is not on trial; the defendant is. Scientology did not kill (the victims); the defendant did."

    more@link
    https://www.azcentral.com/story/new...-trial-penelope-edwards-troy-dunn/2927347002/
     
  13. LongTimeGone

    LongTimeGone Silver Meritorious Patron

    Of course he can blame Scientology. It seems a classic case of using the Fair Game principle. Apparently it's OK for Scientologists to use R2-45 when they don't like someone. Anyway, why would he be worried about the death penalty? He could just come back next week and start all over again.
    Sorry, I've been away for a while, but it appears I am still hung up on this stupid cult.
     
  14. Clay Pigeon

    Clay Pigeon Silver Meritorious Patron

    Well yeah...

    But so can military service, being married to a screaming moneygrubbing frigid bitch, roman catholicism, calvinist protestantism or being a republican in san francisco

    as well as several other things...
     
  15. triumph

    triumph Patron Meritorious

  16. RogerB

    RogerB Crusader

    I had missed this thread till now . . .

    But shit this line from above of the argument presented in court by the defense attorney: "Thompson's attorneys will argue to the jury that the act was rational, if understood through the lens of Scientology."

    Oh, boy! Does that put Scientology in bad light!

    Look at what this legal eagle is saying!!!!
     
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  17. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Sleazy.

    Scientology for such a defence to be even considered. The lawyers for using it -- although the sleazy profession pretty much requires a defence lawyer to come up with *anything* remotely plausible in mitigation, doesn't it?

    Paul
     
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  18. strativarius

    strativarius Inveterate gnashnab & snoutband

    How garbled a description of what scientology auditing is about is this sentence taken from the azcentral article? I'm not defending the guy, but in the convoluted world of court-cases in the USA it might be said that the jury were misinformed.

     
  19. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Jurors also heard about the use of introspective counseling called “auditing” that Scientology adherents believe can rid the body of unwanted thetans, leaving a person in the desired state of “clear.”

    Ah yes. Remember the state of "theta clear"? It really meant "clear of thetans". Right?

    Paul
     
  20. strativarius

    strativarius Inveterate gnashnab & snoutband

    Ah yes, thanks for clearing that up for me m8. :biggrin: