A 28-year-old Pennsylvania man has been arrested for allegedly stoning an elderly man to death for making homosexual advances toward him. But new details emerging in the case suggest the suspect may have had more selfish ulterior motives for the crime.
John Joe Thomas told police he murdered Murray Seidman, his 70-year-old neighbor, by repeatedly striking him in the head with a sock filled with stones.
According to local ABC affiliate WPVI, Thomas lived in the same building as the victim and was arrested Thursday on first-degree murder charges.
On January 12, police responded to a report of a person banging on doors and screaming in an apartment building hallway. When they arrived, officers found Thomas sitting in the hallway crying and screaming about finding blood. When officers entered Seidman's residence, they found dried blood spattered on the floor, walls and furniture.
When police initially questioned Thomas, he allegedly confessed to the crime, telling police he read in the Old Testament that homosexuals should be stoned in "certain situations."
According to court documents, Thomas claims Seidman made sexual advances toward him over a "period of time." When he prayed for an answer, Thomas claims God told him to end Seidman's life. After pummeling Seidman with rock approximately 10 times in the head, he made sure he was dead, threw his bloody clothes in the dumpster and left.
Thomas claims he returned days later to make it appear as if he had just discovered Seidman's dead body.
According to police, Thomas had spent nearly every day with Seidman and had attained the power of attorney over Seidman's affairs. Prior to the murder, Thomas met with a lawyer and prepared a will for Seidman, making himself the sole beneficiary.
Did Thomas really murder his neighbor because he thought his religion demanded it? Or is he using religion as a scapegoat for a larger plot?