Kevin Thomas, the 32-year-old Desha County man charged in the January 2014 beating and strangulation death of his mother, has been declared unfit to stand trial and committed to the State Hospital for treatment to attempt to restore his competency.
“Prosecution will be suspended, pending his treatment,” said 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen.
According to a forensic psychological evaluation conducted by Dr. Monica Parkins, Kevin Thomas has an IQ in the 54 to 62 range and a bipolar disorder with psychotic features.
Thomas attended Special Education classes while in school and has a history of mental illness with treatment dating back to his late teens.
Records of Thomas’ previous treatment for mental illness indicated that he had expressed a belief that he is Moses and has a special relationship with God. He also expressed a belief that family members were conducting Satanic rituals causing him hallucinations and people were trying to poison him, according to the psychological evaluation report.
Thomas, according to the evaluation report, has a poor understanding of fairly basic legal concepts and does not possess the ability to factually and rationally understand the proceedings against him or to effectively assist in his defense.
“For example, Mr. Thomas was unsure of what it meant to be found guilty or what happens to a person after they are found guilty,” Dr. Parkins wrote in the report. “Likewise, he was unsure of what it meant to be acquitted and he did not understand the concept of plea bargaining. Moreover, he appeared unable to think logically and critically about possible defense strategies and the potential outcome associated with various strategies.”
Thomas was charged with first-degree murder and evidence tampering after 57-year-old Bonnie Thomas’ traumatized body was discovered at her home near Kelso on January 17.
She died of strangulation and blunt head force injuries, according to the state medical examiner.
When police arrived at Bonnie Thomas’ home to check on her after she failed to show up for work at the McGehee hospital, police found her son, Kevin Thomas, in a school bus converted camper on the property. Asked if he had seen his mother, he reportedly told police, “we are waiting on my mother to bring us some clothes.” His nude body was wrapped in a blanket. He told police he was alone then closed the door to the bus, according to a police summary included in a psychological evaluation report.
Shortly thereafter, Bonnie Thomas’ body was discovered in the bedroom of her home which is located next to the bus converted camper where Kevin Thomas lived. Police found strands of dark-colored hair in Bonnie Thomas’ left hand and the bottom section of dentures underneath her body. She did not wear dentures but Kevin Thomas does.
During the investigation, police also discovered that Kevin Thomas had cuts, scrapes and bruises on his knuckles. The following day, police discovered a pile of burned objects near the home. The pile included remnants of Kevin Thomas’ burned clothing and shoes as well as Bonnie Thomas’ purse and keys along with several other items, according to the police summary.