BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Rashad Thompson was a “terrific” father, defense attorneys told jurors in Raleigh County Circuit Court on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, as the second day of Thompson’s trial unfolded.
Thompson, now 36, is on trial for allegedly using a hammer to kill his girlfriend’s seven-year-old son, Tre-Shaun Brown, in the early hours of March 18, 2021, at Lewis Ritchie Apartments.
Prosecutors allege that moments before killing Tre-Shaun, Thompson had stabbed his girlfriend, Felicia Brown, after the two fought over Brown’s cell phone.
Thompson is also charged with child abuse causing death, two counts of domestic battery, malicious wounding and attempted first-degree murder.
Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield said Thompson called his mother around 2 a.m. on March 18, 2021, and told her that he loved her. He alleged Thompson then stabbed Felicia Brown multiple times with a knife inside her apartment.
“Ms. Brown was stabbed so many times that she loses consciousness,” Hatfield told jurors during his opening argument. “And she wakes up on the floor of her kitchen.”
Brown was able to fight Thompson off of her so she could leave the apartment and go to a neighbor’s door to ask for help, he added.
“Mr. Thompson changed his weapon to a hammer, a claw hammer most of you have in your toolbox,” added Hatfield. “He began beating seven-year-old Tre-Shaun Brown in the skull with this hammer.”
Tre-Shaun, who reportedly had special needs, was on the sofa when Thompson, who was staying at Brown’s apartment, allegedly attacked him, according to the criminal complaint.
Police arrested Thompson after he allegedly told them he had “lost it.”
“You will hear how Tre-Shaun Brown died of homicide,” Hatfield told jurors. “He died of massive and cataclysmic blunt force trauma to the head. There is no misunderstanding as to what happened to that child.”
Stanley Selden, one of Thompson’s two defense attorneys, insisted to jurors there was not an eyewitness to Tre-Shaun’s murder.
Selden said someone else could have committed the crime but did not identify another suspect.
He also told jurors there was not an element of premeditation, which is required for a first-degree murder charge.
Selden added witnesses will testify that Thompson was a good father who worked at Hobby Lobby and also took side jobs to support his children from a previous relationship, along with a daughter he and Brown had together.
The daughter was two years old at the time of Tre-Shaun’s murder.
“You’re going to hear that Rashad was a terrific father, to all his children, and he includes this child, this mentally challenged seven-year-old child, which was not his biological child, but he included it in his family. He treated it just as if it was his own biological child,” said Selden. “And this child demanded extra care. He had special needs. Mr. Thompson attended to those needs, frequently, in addition to working numerous jobs.”
Selden told jurors in Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick’s courtroom that Thompson, a former all-star high school basketball player, had left his girlfriend of 13 years when he impregnated Brown.
He reportedly was staying at Felicia Brown’s apartment with her, Tre-Shaun and the couple’s two-year-old daughter when Tre-Shaun was murdered.
The ex-girlfriend, who is the mother of Thompson’s children, could testify for Thompson, according to Selden’s statements.
Hatfield said Thompson’s biological child with Brown was not harmed during the attacks on Tre-Shaun and Brown.
The judge is considering the defense’s request for jurors to tour Brown’s apartment, which has been unoccupied since Tre-Shaun’s death.
Brown is expected to testify when the trial resumes on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.