Jurors on Tuesday watched videos of Tyrone Thompson’s interviews with police in the weeks after the fatal stabbing of a Wellborn teacher during his trial.
Jurors watched footage of nearly six hours of police trying to elicit an admission from Thompson of his involvement in the death of 29-year-old Kevin Thompson. The videos were shot during interviews conducted over the course of 12 days.
Tyrone Thompson, Nicholas Smith and Jovon Gaston were each charged in April 2011 with capital murder after Kevin Thompson was kidnapped, robbed and driven to Cherokee County, where he was killed and left down an embankment off U.S. 278. Smith and Gaston have each been convicted; Tuesday was the sixth day of testimony in Tyrone Thompson’s trial.
In the clips jurors viewed Tuesday, Tyrone Thompson maintained his innocence and repeatedly denied he was at the scene of Kevin Thompson’s death.
Allen George, who was an Anniston police officer during the investigation, said on the witness stand Tuesday he had known Tyrone Thompson since he was a small child and thought talking to him would make it easier for Thompson to open up.
In one video, George implored Thompson to tell the truth.
“I don’t want to go to bed at night and see the little fella who drew me pictures to go up there and say, ‘I didn’t do it. I wasn’t there,’ and the jury to think, ‘He’s just cold blooded, he doesn’t care,’” George said in the video.
On April, 21, 2011, in video of an interview before his arrest, Tyrone Thompson claimed that Smith left his black Ford Explorer at the home Tyrone Thompson shared with his girlfriend around 6 p.m. April 20, 2011.
Later, Tyrone Thompson told an officer in the video, he tried to call Kevin Thompson, whom he identified as a childhood friend, to talk. Tyrone Thompson said Kevin Thompson told him he was busy and promised to call him back in an hour.
Before that call, Tyrone Thompson said, he and Kevin Thompson hadn’t spoken in nearly four months.
Around midnight, Tyrone Thompson told officers, Smith called him and asked him to bring Smith’s SUV to the Fort McClellan Credit Union in Anniston. When Thompson arrived, he said, Smith told him he was “onto something,” but couldn’t tell him about it until Friday.
Thompson said he drove Smith’s SUV back home, and Smith was dropped off by a white car and drove his SUV away while Thompson went to bed.
Thompson told officers in the video he didn’t realize Smith had been driving Kevin Thompson’s car at the bank and didn’t see him use Kevin Thompson’s card at an ATM. Tyrone Thompson said he was unsure how Smith and Kevin Thompson knew each other.
After looking at surveillance photos that placed him and Smith at the bank, Tyrone Thompson said he believed Smith was involved with Kevin Thompson’s disappearance.
In the video clip, Tyrone Thompson expressed discomfort when investigators suggested that Kevin Thompson was dead. Tyrone Thompson said Kevin Thompson was like a brother to him, and his mother had been Tyrone Thompson’s teacher in elementary school.
The video ended with Thompson’s arrest after he was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card. Thompson protested his arrest, asking why he was being charged for a card he didn’t use.
“You were there when it was being used,” an officer responded.
In video of another interview, after Tyrone Thompson’s arrest, Thompson claimed that the passenger in Kevin Thompson’s car that night wasn’t him while looking at more surveillance photos. Thompson said the hand holding the gun was too dark to be his own.
An officer asked him how he knew it was a gun and told him he didn’t know what it was when he first saw the photo. Thompson said he could see the gun clearly.
On May 2, 2011, George with Anniston police said told Tyrone Thompson he believed Thompson was present when Kevin Thompson died, but he didn’t kill him.
George said in the video Tyrone Thompson and his co-defendants may have planned to get money from Kevin Thompson at first, but that things got out of hand and either Smith or Gaston stabbed the man.
George said that Tyrone Thompson had called his girlfriend that night and asked her for instructions on how to withdraw money with a card. The call, George said, pinged from a cell tower in Jacksonville. Tyrone Thompson argued that could have been a mistake, and the tower in Jacksonville can pick up calls from Weaver and Anniston.
Tyrone Thompson said to George he was concerned that he would be charged with a crime, no matter what he told police, and asked that the charges be dropped.