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.

29 comments

  • audra

    This Guy did so much drugs when he was in high school that was spent along time ago. His father should have never left him in charge of a gun shop in the first place. Lloyd is a nice Guy on the surface but when he wading that situation he over reacted and acted irrationally. Alvarez was unarmed and he was the first one shot before Thomas ever saw Josh. So wherevis the self defense theory with that kill.

  • rayne

    its not a matter of who knew who or how nice these people were or were not yes i am a friend of the two who were killed i knew both men very well, the thing here is if the law or “justice” was or was not served or if the system really works or not, yes they should have call the psp but so should of lloyd if he felt threatened or even after he shot the two men, the neighbors shouldnt have had to call, im not saying one party is more innocent then the other im just stating that if you dont know the information and all of it or your hurt because your family or friends of either company you are not to pass judgement of what our supposed justice system is supposed to do, ha, either way you look at it, its a sad story and a sad loss, he was wrong shooting towards a road and not calling the psp, but they were also wrong bringing weapons on someone’s property and as well not calling the psp, either way its just a sad story of another senseless death of our stupid society that we as a nation have created. wake up people. RIP JOSH & ALVAREAZ you will be greatly missed and thank you both for your selfless sacrifice as soldiers to protect our freedoms, even if its to protect the corrupt/faulty justice system/government

  • chas

    I would feel very lucky if my car was shot at and not wounded or killed, but i would not play tough guy and go and get a gun to confront the individual who supposedly shot at my car i would have called the police.
    Sorry they were killed but they brought it on themselves.
    Thomas was protecting his life, home and property.If the police were notified these two men would have still been alive, and thomas would have been fined for shooting in direction of a road,life would still be good for all families.

  • shan

    The two men that were shot were just asking for it. They said they wanted to.find out who shot at their car, so they went home and got a gun..if they were so concerned they should have called the police! So it’s their own fault. Absolutely disgusting, those two fools brought it upon themselves. Lloyd is a wonderful man and does not deserve any of this!!! Disgusting justice system, if the two never stepped foot on his property..none of this would have ever happened! :)

    • audra

      You all have to remember that these men were soldiers. they were not trgoing to walk into undisclosed gunfire and just say” hey who shot my car.” they were not going to walk up there unarmed when someone was shooting and he had no no idea who that someone was could have been more than one person for all they knew that they were driving down the road coming back from town and a bullet hit their car. yes maybe they should have called the police on anyone that lives around here knows the response time for our police and a lot of times they don’t even show up if they don’t think it’s important enough. Lloyd maybe a good person in most eyes but I do know for a fact that he has shot at people before his shot at cars on the road he is shot over kids heads are driving ATVs on his land he’s not the person that everyone thinks.

  • april

    No of course the whole story and truth aint told people are going off newspaper articles and news broad casting where only certian things are the truth and others are lies and the only way people would have known the whole truth to what happened would have been to sit in on the trial which as i see most didnt and yes he claims he was shooting at squirels but i am pretty sure any true hunter knows ya are not allowed to shoot towards a road or other house

  • mdog

    And peeps say dope dont kill,get off the weed fools
    just
    tell me did he or did he not fire a gun at these guys car
    prior to killing them.?

    • Pete

      He stated he was shooting at squirrels. Noone asked the question, or it wasn’t allowed, whether he knew that he hit their vehicle. Question is still moot, however. The two victims should have called the state police to handle the issue, not go all vigilante. The Army trains you to kill people, with or without weapons, so these guys are not just innocent bystanders. I don’t care how great you think these guys were, they made a huge mistake in threatening another person on his property..

      • audra

        I sat in that courtroom and Thomas say that he came out the door of the store and saw Alvarez standing there in his garage. He asked him what r u doing and Alvarez responded ” Nothing” he then proceeded to walk away and Thomas followed him into the yard and “No wait, what do you want” and Alvarez kept walking and Thomas just out of the blue shot him in the head. This was his testimony. At that time he went in his house, went through the house onto the back deck and shot Joshua. When he walked out from under the deck. Ballistics specialists proved that to be not true. I am sorry if this bothers u but these r the facts. All three men made horrible mistakes and bad choices. But it is over now nd we all have to go on w/our lives. Let these men RIP and Lloyd pay for his mistakes. So that the families can move on.

    • april

      No one ever said weed made him murder these 2 boys at all that is carried from him having it in his pocket when he was taken into custody and them finding in a few places through out the house

  • Larry

    Yes Larry there is something missing. COMMON SENSE. The jury’s verdict says he is not guilty of murder because he was in fear for his life but he is guilty of manslaughter because that fear wasn’t reasonable. So an armed intruder doesn’t equate to reasonable fear? That’s a preposterous viewpoint. What was Mr Thomas supposed to do – wait until the nimrod with the shotgun blew his brains out before trying to save himself? Play stupid games, Win stupid prizes….

  • Mart

    He should have shot the one with the shotgun, then, called 911.The second ammendment, gives every american, the right to protect himself from harm, injury or death, by any means. When more than one threat,
    the most pragmatic solution is complete eradication of the life or injury
    threat, then deal with the lesser confrontation by not eradatcation if possible. The bottom line is “In such a situation the perpetrators don’t
    matter one iota. YOU DO as well as your family.

    • april

      Cant shoot someone that at first he didnt see with a gun and no one even knew there was any other gun involved until the next day when it was found in the woods

  • Mahteen

    Where is the talk about how Lloyd and his father operated a gun store at their home and the entrance to it, where Alvarez was shot; or the details about how criminal these two were and their (dishonorable/AWOL) means for leaving their military service?

    • Kenneth Ayers

      Lets see here gun shop last i knew thats where you would takes guns to sell or trade for others. The bottom line is thomas killed two boys for no reason. And then went and hid. Cuz he did wrong thats why the state trooper didn’t find him for four hours… thomas didn’t call the law after he killed them some else did …. if hes not guilty then why didn’t make the call to the law thomas is guilty and should have gotten murder one….and as far as them being kick out of the armed forces is bull they didn’t reinlist so some need to get there facts straight before they say things they don’t know. GILBERT AND JOSH TWO GOOD BOYS DIED FOR NO GOOD REASON. Thomas said on stand he don’t know why he shot them. Wow i think when you kill to peolpe you should know why you did it… whos he gonna kill next the ups man cuz he’s bringing a package or some lost person trying to find there way home. He’s murderer and thats all there is to it. What if gilbert or josh was your brother or son or family you would be saying the same thing and neither are my family. But i did know gilbert and he was a great guy one that would give you his last dallor if you needed it always there to help a freind. So for you that don’t know gilbert and josh but think you need to say bad things about them to hell with you your nothing but bullcrap words don’t judge ones you don’t know. Has a good day

      • Sam

        I just wanted to clarify what you stated: “But i did know gilbert and he was a great guy one that would give you his last dallor if you needed it always there to help a freind”

        You’re misled. Gang members will also give their last dollar to a friend, and always back them up, but that doesn’t make them good people by any means.

    • Bullcrap

      This dishonarbal/AWOL you speak of seems to be a little lacking being that one is buried in Arlington, if he was AWOL he would have never been buried there. Maybe you all need to do a little more research because Lloyd had PSP called on him before for drawing a gun on people. Also, How is it self defense if you shoot them in the back while they are running? and where is the piece about the PSP find him moving the bodies of both of them when they arrived?

  • Mahteen

    I wonder why none of the news stories mention the Lloyd and his father operate a gun shop out of that home and that Alvarez was caught entering that area? Another point I have not seen; didnt these 2 leave the military dishonorably/AWOL?

  • Pete

    Appeal the verdict!
    Idiots with a gun come on my property, trespassing, to intimidate me without any evidence, looking for vengeance? You bet they get shot at. The guy with the gun got what he asked for, the unarmed man was still an accessory and still trespassing to do harm to the property owner. They should have called the police to look into their issue, not do a vigilante gun run.

  • not right

    I see the castle law didn’t work and if it should of worked. It don’t make sense. How is it fair that two men come on your property, split up and one goes to the front one to be back of the house, just to talk? Find out why someone shot at them. Well I know where this happened and if you know how far the house is from the road you’d ask the same thing. How is that ok. Call 911 and wait for state police to get there. Any smart person who didn’t have revengeful reasons to go up there would of. I wasn’t friends with him and I really didn’t like Lloyd but what’s fair is fair and justice wasn’t served. I’m behind you Lloyd keep fighting

  • Nunya

    Ill tell you what if somebody come on my property with a shotgun ill drop them where they stand ill be damned if if im going to let them get a shot off. Lloyd chose to be judged by 12 than carried by 6 and I stand behind him. Keep fighting Lloyd you are in the right

  • anonymous

    This is absolutely ridiculous, Lloyd Thomas is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He had every right to do what he did. Those two men on his property with guns were there to do something certainly not to sit down and have tea with him. What a terrible system this is, those two scumbags shouls have never been on his property to begin with and this would have never happened. Absolutely disgusting, Lloyd does not deserve this.

  • duh.

    I dont know any of these men, but shooting a wounded man in the back does not sound like self defense. It sounds like somebody didnt want someone else to talk.

  • stan

    If these two characters felt threatened by the alleged aforementioned act, then, these experienced veterans should have immediately called 911 and let the PSP handle the situation. But, these two perpetrators added fuel to the fire, violated a man’s castle and a man’s life with their lewd acts and paid for their transgressions. APPEAL,APPEAL, APPEAL the incompetent and unjust verdict by this bicameral and simpleton jury.

  • harsh times

    “no person should be required to surrender his or her personal safety to a criminal, nor should a person be required to needlessly retreat in the face of intrusion or attack outside the person’s home or vehicle

    • CCKM

      Agreed. I would’ve warned them, called the police, and then if things got pushy, i would start shooting. Someone came up to my step-son’s window at 2 AM during hurricane sandy, I hear these voices outside, thought someone needed help, see some clown running down the hill. Posted on my FB wall the next day if they ever came around again I would shoot them next time. Stupid fool was looking to get high on weed with my stepson. Who BTW, got booted, yes he was over 21. Don’t FWM. I don’t feel I have to wait too long in my own home or property to “ensure” someone is not a threat, particularly if their menacing or skulking around windows!

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