Family of Kevin Thompson ask for death penalty
by Rachael Brown
rgriffin@annistonstar.com
Jul 08, 2013 | 8594 views |  0 comments | 130 130 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nicholas Smith, along with defense team and prosecutors framed through a window during the sentencing phase of his trial in Judge Brian Howell's courtroom at the Calhoun County Courthouse Monday morning. Smith was convicted last week of killing Wellborn teacher Kevin Thompson. Photo by Trent Penny.
Nicholas Smith, along with defense team and prosecutors framed through a window during the sentencing phase of his trial in Judge Brian Howell's courtroom at the Calhoun County Courthouse Monday morning. Smith was convicted last week of killing Wellborn teacher Kevin Thompson. Photo by Trent Penny.
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The mother and sister of Kevin Thompson, a third-grade teacher killed in 2011, asked jurors Monday to sentence Nicholas Smith to death.

The two women’s testimony came in the sentencing phase of Smith’s capital murder trial.

The jury on July 2 found Smith, 24, guilty of committing an intentional murder during a kidnapping in the first degree and committing an intentional murder during a robbery in the first degree.

The jury on Monday listened to testimony from Thompson’s friends and family as well as Smith’s mother and aunt.

Rena Curry, Thompson’s younger sister, described the special relationship she had with her brother.

“Not only was he my brother, but he was also my father figure,” she said.

“My Bible says ‘an eye for an eye.’ I know he’s had a terrible childhood,” Curry said of Smith, “but I know he wasn’t thinking about his childhood when he took away my best friend, my brother.”

Family members and officials told the court about a childhood that exposed Smith to drinking and drug abuse by his mother and an allegation that he was sexually abused as a 4-year-old by a family member.

Prosecutors say Tyrone Thompson, Jovon Gaston and Smith kidnapped Kevin Thompson on April 20, 2011, drove the Wellborn Elementary School teacher to several ATMs in Jacksonville and Anniston, robbing him at gunpoint of $400 and stabbing him to death.

Frances Curry, Thompson’s mother, testified that she was the one who brought Tyrone Thompson into her family’s life.

Frances Curry said her 29-year-old son was hoping to give Tyrone Thompson good advice that might have helped him “get on the right track.” Shortly before Kevin Thompson was killed, his mother testified, he said he wasn’t sure Tyrone Thompson wanted to change.

“Kevin said, ‘If he doesn’t take the advice this time I’m going to let him go.’ It was just one time too late,” she said as she began to sob.

Chrisandra Smith, Nicholas Smith’s mother, told the jury she battled addictions with drugs and alcohol that began when she was a teen living in California. Chrisandra Smith had two sons before Nicholas Smith, one who she gave up for adoption and another whom Nicholas knew as his brother.

Chrisandra Smith told jurors that when she found out she was pregnant with Nicholas she wanted to have an abortion. Defense attorney Shaun Quinlan asked her why she wanted to terminate her pregnancy and Chrisandra Smith testified, “I couldn’t play my guitar.”

Chrisandra Smith told jurors she attempted to commit suicide because she could hear “mocking demons” that would not leave her alone. After stints in several rehabilitation programs, Chrisandra said, she found a local church that helped her pray the demons away.

Shortly after moving to Alabama, Chrisandra said, her husband died. Nicholas Smith was 5 years old at the time, his mother said. Smith’s mother told jurors that her husband was the only male role model Nicholas had in his life.

When Nicholas Smith was in ninth grade, his mother said, she moved him to four different schools in three different states. Chrisandra Smith also testified to using her son as a designated driver while she drank at bars when he was 13 and smoking marijuana with him at 14.

When prosecutors asked Chrisandra Smith why she didn’t talk to her son about this case she said, “I don’t want to know. I’m just too dead already.”

Nancy Green, a former child-abuse investigator for the Department of Human Resources, testified that she interviewed Nicholas Smith when he accused a family member of sexual abuse. Green said Nicholas Smith was 4 when the abuse was reported and DHR’s investigation showed the alleged abuse happened.

(Though Smith’s alleged abuser was named in court, The Star has not included that person’s identity here to avoid divulging his juvenile criminal history.)

Smith’s mother told jurors her husband mentioned the alleged abuse to her and she “didn’t want to hear it.”

The defense planned to have the family member testify Monday, but he fled from the Calhoun County Courthouse before he was called to the stand. The attorneys told Circuit Judge Brian Howell that the family member had not been subpoenaed because he’d cooperated throughout the case.

Testimony presented by the defense will continue Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Howell’s courtroom.

Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.
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