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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 19, 1989 | GEORGE FRANK, Times Staff Writer
Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas, convicted of murder and sentenced to death during a court-martial last October, gave his first public version of his pregnant wife's death in court documents filed Thursday, denying that he killed her with a tire iron in their Tustin apartment. Thomas never testified during his trial at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, and he told The Times that he wanted to take the stand but that his military defense lawyers would not let him. A jury of officers and enlisted men found Thomas guilty of premeditated murder.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 19, 1989 | GEORGE FRANK, Times Staff Writer
Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas, convicted of murder and sentenced to death during a court-martial last October, gave his first public version of his pregnant wife's death in court documents filed Thursday, denying that he killed her with a tire iron in their Tustin apartment. Thomas never testified during his trial at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, and he told The Times that he wanted to take the stand but that his military defense lawyers would not let him. A jury of officers and enlisted men found Thomas guilty of premeditated murder.
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NEWS
November 9, 1988 | LAURA KURTZMAN, Times Staff Writer
A military jury at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station on Tuesday sentenced a Marine sergeant to death for fatally bludgeoning his pregnant, 24-year-old wife with a tire iron, then trying to disguise the murder in a dramatic car crash to collect $50,000 in life insurance. "Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas . . . this court-martial sentences you to be put to death," jury foreman Lt. Col. R. C. Kurth said, as a gasp went up in the courtroom, along with a piercing cry from Thomas' first wife, Muriel.
NEWS
November 9, 1988 | LAURA KURTZMAN, Times Staff Writer
A military jury at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station on Tuesday sentenced a Marine sergeant to death for fatally bludgeoning his pregnant, 24-year-old wife with a tire iron, then trying to disguise the murder in a dramatic car crash to collect $50,000 in life insurance. "Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas . . . this court-martial sentences you to be put to death," jury foreman Lt. Col. R. C. Kurth said, as a gasp went up in the courtroom, along with a piercing cry from Thomas' first wife, Muriel.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 18, 2000 | LULADEY B. TADESSE
Cal State Fullerton officials and a hazardous materials crew on Friday were investigating an explosion in the university's science building as cleanup of the damaged chemistry lab continued. The blast, which occurred at 7 p.m. Thursday, left the floor, ceiling and door of the lab doused with a compound believed to be a mixture of a "very weak" hydrochloric acid solution and heating oil, Cal State Fullerton spokeswoman Paula Selleck said. No one was injured.
NEWS
August 20, 1997 | STEVE CARNEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A military court has set aside the death sentence of a former El Toro Marine convicted of killing his pregnant wife in their apartment on the base. Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas was on death row at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., when the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that the trial judge improperly told the jury to vote on a death sentence before considering lesser penalties, the Navy Times reported.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 4, 1988
Defense lawyers read from pages of questions Monday as they began screening possible jurors for the military murder trial of Marine Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas, who is accused of beating his wife to death with a tire iron. Thomas, 28, was charged April 5 with the murder of Melinda Thomas, 24, whose body was found in a burning vehicle in Riverside County. The autopsy showed that she was four months' pregnant when she was found last December. According to defense attorney Maj.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 6, 1988 | MARK LANDSBAUM, Times Staff Writer
An Oct. 3 military trial was set Friday for the El Toro Marine accused of bludgeoning his pregnant wife to death, then strapping her body in a car and pushing it off a cliff in Riverside County. Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas entered no plea, reserving that right until after pretrial motions in the general court-martial being held at Camp Pendleton, according to Thomas' attorney, Maj. Mark Stevens. A court-martial conviction could carry a sentence of death.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 27, 1988 | LAURA KURTZMAN, Times Staff Writer
The jury in the court-martial of an El Toro Marine accused of bludgeoning his wife to death got its first look Wednesday at the scene where he and an accomplice allegedly strapped the body into a car and pushed it over a cliff off Ortega Highway. The nine jurors, all of them men, scrambled down two steep footpaths into the garbage-strewn ravine to examine the blackened tree trunk where the car allegedly was set on fire after it plummeted over the 200-foot cliff.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 3, 1988 | LAURA KURTZMAN, Times Staff Writer
There is only one thing that both sides agree on in the court-martial of Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas, an El Toro marine accused of bludgeoning his wife to death: The prosecution's star witness, an admitted accomplice in the crime, "is a piece of filth." Capt. Bradley N. Garber, the prosecuting attorney, hurled that epithet at the witness, Lance Cpl.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 4, 1988 | LAURA KURTZMAN, Times Staff Writer
After less than 7 hours of deliberations, a military jury Thursday found El Toro-based Marine Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas guilty of beating his pregnant 24-year-old wife to death with a tire iron. Thomas, 28, was convicted of bludgeoning Melinda Jean Thomas to death last Dec. 10, then faking a traffic accident to hide the murder.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 1988 | MARCIDA DODSON, Times Staff Writer
An El Toro Marine accused of bludgeoning his wife to death, strapping her body in a vehicle and pushing it off a cliff on Ortega Highway will be court-martialed on a charge of premeditated murder, the Marine Corps announced Thursday. Sgt. Joseph L. Thomas is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today at Camp Pendleton and will face a general court-martial for the capital offense, according to Sgt. Deborah Bragagnini.
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