Split Verdict In Double Murder Trial In Susquehanna County
A man on trial in Susquehanna County for the shooting death of two men nearly two years ago was given a split verdict Thursday evening.
Lloyd Thomas was acquitted of the two more serious murder charges he faced but found guilty on voluntary manslaughter.
When sentenced, Lloyd Thomas` defense attorney says he could face anywhere from five to 10 years behind bars.
After a four day trial at the Susquehanna County Courthouse, the jury found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting deaths of Joshua Rogers and Gilberto Alvarez.
However Thomas was acquitted of the two more serious charges against him murder in the first and third degrees.
“I don`t think that there`s any doubt from the jury`s verdict that they thought that Lloyd felt that he was acting in self-defense,” said defense attorney George Lepley. “Obviously they must have assumed that they thought it was an unreasonable belief.”
It was back in February of 2012 when Thomas shot the men outside his house in Great Bend Township.
Investigators said Rogers and Alvarez came to Thomas` house thinking someone there shot at their car as they drove by.
Rogers was armed with a gun, and Thomas said he shot Rogers and then Alvarez in self-defense.
The families of the two men, who were army friends who served in Afghanistan, said they were gunned down in cold blood.
“My son was a good person, he fought for this country so that you guys could be standing here interviewing me right now,” said Alvarez’s mother, Suzette Benet.
“He intentionally shot them,” said Roger’s mother, Sharon Rogers. “Gilbert was unarmed, my son was running away as he was shot.”
The case also put on trial the newly expanded Castle Doctrine that allows people to use deadly force outside their homes.
However the district attorney said it`s clear by the verdict, the jury felt it wasn`t justified.
“That`s what the jury decided, they listened to Mr. Thomas and they just concluded his version of events, it just wasn`t reasonable,” said District Attorney Jason Legg.
Thomas was also found guilty of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
His sentencing is set for February 27 in Susquehanna County Court.