Death penalty off table

LLOYD THOMAS

BY STACI WILSON

Susquehanna County District Attorney Jason Legg will not seek the death penalty against theSusquehannaCountyman accused of killing two men outside his father’s Great Bend Twp. home in February.

Although Legg has elected to not prosecute 45-year-old Lloyd Thomas as a capital case, he said, “This is a very serious case – one residents ofSusquehannaCountyrarely see.”

Defense attorney George Lepley requested bail be set for his client, who, he said, is a lifelong resident of the county and has no prior record.

Thomas, of Hallstead, has been held without bail since his Feb. 11 arrest. He has been charged with two counts of criminal homicide.

Legg said if found guilty on the charges, Thomas would face a sentence of life in prison without parole.

President Judge Kenneth Seamans denied the bail request and said he would issue an order detailing the reasons.

Thomas stands accused of killing Joshua Rogers, 30, Hallstead, and Gilberto Alvarez, 28, who had recently moved to the area to find work.

Alvarez was shot in the head andRogersin the abdomen and hand.

In interviews with police, Thomas said he shot the men in self-defense.

During a preliminary hearing last month, investigators said Rogers and Alvarez arrived at property owned by Thomas’ family inGreat Bendto find out who had shot atRogers’ car. They brought two of Alvarez’s weapons – a rifle found in the Mustang and a shotgun found in the woods after the incident. They parked the Mustang in the middle ofPine Ayre Road, blocking it to traffic, Trooper Mark Keyes said.

Once they passed through the woods and reached the home, each man headed to either the front or rear door of the home, though it was not clear which man went to which door, Trooper Keyes testified at last month’s hearing.

Alvarez’s body was found within about 20 feet of the front door, according to testimony by Trooper Keyes and Susquehanna County Coroner Anthony Conarton.

Between whereRogers’ body was found and the Thomas home, investigators found a loaded, 12-gauge shotgun with a shell in the chamber, though it had not been fired, Trooper Keyes said.

The pistol grip on the shotgun had a bullet hole through it, Trooper Keyes said, which led investigators to conclude that Rogers was holding it when he suffered the gunshot wound to his hand, Susquehanna County District Attorney Jason Legg said after the hearing.

The shot toRogers’ abdomen that killed him entered from behind and traveled through his body, Conarton testified.