date is set for James Edward Thomas
The Supreme Court of the United States denied Thomas' petition to review
the decision of the Fourth Circuit of Appeals, dismissing his appeal.
Carolina Supreme Court affirmed Thomas' conviction and sentence of
capital re-sentencing hearing in Wake County, Thomas was again sentenced
to death for the first-degree murder of Teresa Ann West.
The North Carolina Supreme Court vacated the death sentence and remanded
the case for re-sentencing.
51, was sentenced to death in Wake County Superior Court for the first
degree murder of Teresa Ann West, and received a consecutive term of
life imprisonment for first-degree sexual offense.
James Edward Thomas moved
into the Sir Walter Tourist Home in Raleigh, North Carolina, in early
1986. While living there, he befriended Teresa West, the manager of the
In June of that year, Thomas
moved to Cary, North Carolina with his fiancée. On the evening of June
13, Thomas borrowed a friend’s car and drove to the tourist home to
visit West, who had told Thomas she had some heroin (Thomas was a heroin
After unsuccessfully seeking to
acquire cocaine to inject along with the heroin, Thomas proceeded to
West’s room, where he injected the heroin. He also dissolved and
injected some pills West gave him.
According to Thomas’ trial
testimony, West, who was only partially clothed, confronted him and
demanded sex. Thomas refused on the grounds of fidelity to his fiancée
and inability due to the heroin.
West attempted to start an
argument, at which point Thomas claims he passed out. When he awoke,
West was dead; Thomas fled the apartment. West’s body was found with a
telephone receiver inserted into her vagina.
The forensic expert who
performed the autopsy testified that West was strangled manually and
with a pair of pantyhose and that the insertion of the telephone
receiver probably occurred post-mortem.
Thomas was charged with, and
convicted of, first-degree murder and first-degree sexual offense. The
jury sentenced Thomas to death in 1987.
On direct appeal, the North
Carolina Supreme Court affirmed Thomas’ convictions but vacated his
sentence in 1991 and remanded for re-sentencing on the basis of another
appeal that found that North Carolina jury instructions improperly
required juror unanimity as to mitigating factors. Thomas was again
sentenced to death in February 1995, and this sentence was affirmed.