BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– The trial of Rashad Thompson, who is accused of murdering a seven-year-old boy at Lewis Ritchie Apartments in March 2021, began in Raleigh County Circuit Court on Monday, October 31, 2022.
Thompson, 34, is on trial for a first-degree murder charge in the death of Tre-Shaun Brown, a child whom Raleigh Circuit Court Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick described as “incapacitated” on Monday.
Thompson is also charged with child abuse resulting in death, two counts of domestic battery, attempted first-degree murder and malicious wounding.
Police allege Thompson beat Tre-Shaun to death with a hammer in the early morning hours of March 18, 2021.
Tre-Shaun was killed while he was on the sofa inside his home at Lewis Ritchie Apartments, according to a criminal complaint.
Thompson was reportedly staying in the apartment.
Tre-Shaun’s mother, Felicia Brown, then 24, fled to a neighbor’s apartment to ask for help. According to police, Thompson had also stabbed Brown with a knife.
She was hospitalized following the alleged attack.
Jury selection began on the first day of trial, with Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield and Thompson’s attorneys, Stanley Selden and Matthew Victor, questioning a jury pool. Lawyers asked jurors a series of questions, including whether they or someone they knew had been arrested or convicted of a crime, if they were “addicted” to true crime television shows, if they or someone close to them worked in law enforcement, for Child Protective Services and other governmental agencies.
Attorneys asked jurors if they would be too emotional to reach a verdict and if they be opposed to granting mercy to Thompson if he would be convicted of Tre-Shaun’s murder.
A number of jurors indicated they had read or viewed media coverage of Thompson’s arrest.
According to a criminal complaint, Thompson allegedly told police, “I just lost it” when Tre-Shaun’s body was discovered on Brown’s sofa.
Hatfield offered Thompson a plea deal that would have allowed Thompson to plead guilty to first-degree murder, with all other charges dropped. Thompson surprised his own attorneys and Hatfield by declining the plea deal during a hearing.
His trial was postponed three times, prior to Monday, October 31, 2022.
Lawyers will make opening statements once a jury is impaneled.
According to statements by Hatfield, Brown and two neighbors at Lewis Ritchie Apartments are expected to testify.