GREAT BEND TOWNSHIP — Friends gathered in Melissa Sharer’s home in Susquehanna County to make a poster to honor the memories of Gilberto Alvarez and Josh Rogers.
It’s been almost two years since the two men were shot to death near Hallstead by Lloyd Thomas but the loss still feels fresh.
April Albro said she immediately bonded with Alvarez when he moved from Florida to start a new life in Susquehanna County. She said he was drawn to the area by his Army buddy, Rogers. She said there are many things she misses about her friend.
“His sense of humor, his outlook, his attitude on life,” said Albro.
Lloyd Thomas’s sister, Lisa, said the past two years have been painful for her too.
“Obviously we are very sorry for their families and for everything that has happened,” said Lisa Thomas.
Investigators said on February 11, 2012 Alvarez and Rogers were driving near the Thomas family property on Pine Ayre Road in Great Bend Township, and believed they heard a bullet from that direction hit their car.
Detectives said the two men went home, checked the car, and returned to Pine Ayre Road with a rifle and shotgun.
Friends of the victims believe Thomas overreacted.
“All they wanted was just the car that got shot taken care of and that was it,” said Albro.
What happened next will be argued in court
Defense attorney George Lepley said Thomas was acting in self defense when he saw Rogers carrying a rifle and shot him, before shooting Alvarez.
“Obviously that shot gun had to be visable to them,” said Lepley.
Prosecutors have stated that Thomas initially said he didn’t see Rogers was armed.
Thomas believes a series of misunderstandings lead to the killings.
“Nobody is a bad person, it’s probably a lot of miscommunications and circumstances that lead people to believe things,” said Lisa Thomas.