Condemned Grayson Co. killer loses appeal

Andre Thomas
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SHERMAN, Tex. - The state's top criminal appeals court has upheld the conviction and death sentence of a Grayson County man accused of killing his wife, their son and her daughter.

Andre Thomas confessed to fatally stabbing all three in their chests in March 2004 and ripping out their hearts. The appeals court ruled Thomas knowingly and intelligently waived his rights.

Thomas gouged out his right eye inside a jail cell in April 2004, moments after reading a Bible verse.

Then in June, a judge declared suspect Andre Thomas incompetent to stand trial in the murder of his wife and her two children.

Thomas was then found competent to stand trial in July 2004 after a brief stay at Vernon Mental Hospital.

Within hours of his arrest, Thomas gave a chilling confession, where he described in detail how he committed the murders.

Defense attorneys wanted the confession tossed because they said he was not competent to make that statement, but the confession was ruled admissible in December.

A Grayson County jury found Andre Thomas guilty of capital murder after 35 minutes of deliberation in March of 2005. The packed courtroom was quiet, and Thomas showed no emotion as Judge James Fry read the jury’s verdict. Family members of the victims had a look of relief on their face as the verdict was read.

Thomas was sentenced to die by that jury a few days later in March.

Defense Attorney R.J. Hagood pleaded that Thomas had been neglected as a child and that death was not the appropriate choice.

Hagood still feels that way today, more than three years later.

"It's a tragedy. I don't think Andre was right. He was found competent and sane at the time."

Grayson County district attorney Joe Brown said Wednesday he is satisfied with the appeals court's decision.

"The result of the most serious crime is the most serious penalty, and I'm confident he will get the death penatly," Brown said.

Attorneys say the next step Thomas could take is to request a rehearing.

No execution date has been set.

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