BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Jurors in Raleigh County Circuit Court found Rashad Thompson guilty of first degree murder in the bludgeoning death of 7-year-old Tre-Shaun Brown on March 18, 2021, and the attempted murder of 26-year-old Felicia Brown, Tre-Shaun’s mother.
They also found him guilty of malicious wounding, child abuse resulting in death and two counts of domestic battery.
In a second hearing following the trial, jurors recommended that Thompson be given mercy, which means he could be eligible for parole after he serves at least 15 years of the sentence.
Those petitioning jurors for mercy expressed disbelief and shock at the murder.
“You found him guilty of it,” his cousin, Michael Fowlkes, said.” But for this man I know to sit here and actually plan out and do something like that, I would never say that happened.”
Thompson’s former principal at Cranberry-Elementary School, Betty Salvatore, of Fayetteville, said she took a day from her job to ask the court for mercy.
Salvatore said the large Thompson family felt like her family when the Thompson children attended Cranberry-Prosperity and that Thompson was quiet and well-mannered.
“I know that something did happen. It did,” said Salvatore, blotting tears from her face. “But I don’t know what led up to it. I don’t know what caused it. But I can tell you, that’s not the man I know. It’s just not the man I know.”
The prosecutor did not cross examine Thompson family members but approached Salvatore with pictures of the crime scene.
Thompson, 36, stabbed Brown inside of her Lewis Ritchie Apartments kitchen. When she ran to a neighbor for help, he used a claw hammer to beat Tre-Shaun, who was fully disabled, to death.
Jurors deliberated just over two hours before delivering the verdicts. In his closing argument to jurors on Thursday, November 10, 2022, Raleigh Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield urged jurors to find Thompson guilty of all charges.
Hatfield said Thompson, who was living with Brown, broke Brown’s cell phone and stabbed her repeatedly inside of her apartment, after the two had consumed alcohol and had an argument. He said Thompson followed Brown out of the apartment when she ran next door for help, returned, changed his clothing and then went to the kitchen and found the hammer he used to kill Tre-Shaun. Hatfield reminded jurors of police testimony, when officers said they responded to neighbors’ 911 calls and found Brown’s apartment locked. Thompson answered the back door and told police, “I lost it.”
Defense Attorney Stanley Selden told jurors during his closing argument that Brown may have killed Tre-Shaun because she was upset with his school. He also said Brown’s alleged actions of relying heavily on Thompson for child care and calling his job could have prompted Thompson to stab her and kill her child.
Beckley Police Department Chief Detective Morgan Bragg had testified there was no evidence Brown had harmed Tre-Shaun.
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