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Not in My Name

...but they're dead just the same...

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#133 - Wallace Norrell Thomas - AL - 7/13/1990
I just... I've got nothin here.

Victim:  Quenette Shehane (21)        12/20/1976

Codefendants:  Jerry Lee Jones - Sentenced to Life.  As of the date of this posting, he is still incarcerated
                                                      at Staton Correctional Center in Elmore, Alabama
                          Eddie Barnard Neal - Sentenced to Life.  As of the date of this posting, he is still
                                                      incarcerated at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Alabama

The evidence shows Shehane left the presence of her fiance, Ramsey Lane, to go to a store for salad dressing on the evening of December 20th. When she left in her automobile there was a Sears portable television set in the car in her possession.

While in a parking lot adjacent to the store she visited, she was forced into her car by Thomas and two accomplices, Jerry Lee Jones and Eddie Barnard Neal, and was driven away. Those two followed in Jones's car and, later that evening, Thomas called a friend to a store near the site where Shehane's body and car were found and that same friend gave Thomas and his accomplices a ride. Jones's and Neal's appearance indicated they had been in a fight and were bloodstained. Thomas did not appear to have been and he was not bloodstained.

Shehane's body was discovered early the next morning. She had been shot at least six times. When her car was found, the television set was not in it.

A few days after the night she was robbed and killed, Thomas gave his soon-to-be roommate Shehane's television set to keep until school reopened. After Thomas was arrested, he instructed that same roommate to dispose of the television set.

There are two additional facts of importance: Thomas had the pistol used to kill Quenette Shehane in his possession when he was arrested; and Thomas left a partial palm print on Shehane's car on the night he robbed and killed her. One of the two other men charged in the case implicated Thomas in the shooting. The co-defendants are serving life sentences. While on death row, Mr. Thomas helped found Alabama's branch of "Project Hope", a group against the death penalty.

On December 21, 1976, Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Jack Parker was called to the 3800 block of Fourth Place West in Birmingham. Parker observed the victim lying about nine feet off the roadway in an area used for dumping garbage. There were numerous bruises and scrapes on the body, as well as what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the chest.

Coroner Jay Glass performed the autopsy. Four bullets were removed from the victim, three from the buttocks area, and one from the chest area. Glass's external examination revealed six gunshot wounds to the victim, two other wounds were found in the area of the victim's left elbow.

The victim's fiance, Ramsey Lane, testified that he last saw his fiancee around 6:30 p.m. on December 20, 1976, at his fraternity house where they were to have dinner. The victim left the fraternity house to go buy some salad dressing and never returned. She drove her automobile, which contained all of her possessions, including a Sears portable black and white television. Lane identified the television and testified that he was with the victim when she bought the set from a local Sears store.

John Andrew Mays, a roommate of Jerry Lee Jones, testified that on December 20, 1976, he overheard Jones, Thomas, and Edward Bernard Neal say they were "going out and pick up some young ladies." Mays remained at the apartment longer than the others and then left to go to his sister's house. He walked to Graymont Avenue in the direction of Legion Field. As Mays passed a "U-Tote-M" store, he saw a man push a young woman into an automobile. He could not identify the race of either person. However, he did identify the automobile as belonging to Jones.

Edward Lynn, a student at Daniel Payne College and fraternity brother of Thomas and Neal, testified that around 9:30 p.m. on December 20, 1976, he received a call from Thomas requesting that he pick him up at a convenience store located on the corner of Cherry Avenue and Highway 78 in Birmingham. Lynn drove to the store and saw Thomas, Jones, and Neal. He noticed the clothes of Jones and Neal had spots of blood in the chest portion. Thomas's clothes were not rumpled and had no blood on them. Thomas told Lynn that Jones and Neal had gotten into a fight. Lynn drove the trio to Jones's apartment.

Hoover police evidence technician L. E. Strickland testified that on December 21, 1976, he was called to a location about three-quarters of a mile from the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Highway 78 to examine the victim's automobile. He photographed the scene and had the car towed to the city shop where he processed it for evidence. Strickland recovered from the car: (1) two spent .22 caliber shells found near the left front door; (2) one spent .22 caliber shall found on the right front floorboard; (3) one lead bullet recovered from the "hat rack" area of the rear seat; (4) a reddish colored stain removed from the right rear quarter panel; (5) a blue skirt which was found lying partially on the right front floorboard; (6) a piece of seat cover removed from the upper right front seat area; and (7) eleven latent fingerprints.

Birmingham police officers Jerry McElroy and Myran Bradley testified that on January 28, 1977, they saw Thomas in possession of a pistol. They arrested him.

David Higgins, Birmingham police senior evidence technician, testified that on January 29, 1977, he received the .22 caliber pistol. Higgins test fired the .22 caliber pistol taken from Thomas and compared the projectiles and spent shells with those collected at the scene of the crime. He determined that the casings had all been struck by the same firing pin.

Sandra Triplett, a senior fingerprint technician, determined that the right palm print found on the door glass of the victim's car was Thomas'.

In December 1976, Eugene Maddox was a student at Daniel Payne College and was a fraternity brother of Thomas. He was living at home. During the Christmas holidays, Thomas visited Maddox at his home and brought a television with him. Maddox identified the victim's television as being similar to the one brought by Thomas. Thomas left the television with Maddox. When school reconvened, the television was put in a dormitory room that Maddox and Thomas shared. After Thomas was arrested, he telephoned Maddox and told him to destroy the television. Maddox told Sammy Mulkey, a resident of the same dormitory, about Thomas's telephone call, and Mulkey volunteered to dispose of the television. Maddox left his dormitory room and upon his return, the television was gone. He did not see it again until Thomas's trial. Maddox also identified the gun taken from Thomas as belonging to Thomas.

Sammy Mulkey testified that he took the television from Maddox's room. He identified the television as the set which he had received from Maddox. Mulkey took the television to his parents' home in Clanton where he kept it for three or four days until contacted by police. He gave the television to them.

Lawden Yates, criminologist with the Department of Forensic Sciences, determined that the reddish stains found on the pavement taken from the site of the victim's body were human blood. He determined that a stain on the piece of seat cover was human semen. Yates found the reddish stain removed from the right rear quarter panel of the victim's car to be blood. Yates's testimony concluded presentation of the State's case.

Thomas moved to exclude the State's evidence on the basis of its failure to prove a prima facie case. The motion was denied.

Thomas then rested his case without presenting any evidence.