Double murder trial of Scientologist Kenneth Wayne Thompson

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by The Wrong Guy, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    A Scientologist on trial for double murder: A story the church is very nervous about

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, January 7, 2019


    Kenny Thompson’s mother had questionable taste in men. Dad One — Kenny’s biological father — skipped out when he was two years old. Maybe that contributed to keeping him from starting to speak until he was four.

    By then, Mom was with the new guy, the one named Craig who was sort of Dad Two, although they never married. What a winner he turned out to be.

    In 1990, Kenny was seven and living in the Alaska city of Wasilla. Sarah Palin, the woman who would become the town’s most famous product, was still working for her husband Todd’s fishing business and hadn’t yet entered politics.

    For Kenny, 1990 was tough. He was struggling to keep up in school, and he hated Dad Two, Craig, who was abusive.

    That same year, Craig’s brother Doug teamed up with a friend to shoot and kill a random guy in another car as they were driving on the highway into Anchorage.

    Doug and his friend went to prison and blamed another friend, George, for ratting them out. From prison, Doug convinced his sister to help them kill George with a mail bomb, and she got assistance from her brother Craig — Dad Two — to construct the thing. But when the bomb was delivered to George’s house, George was out of town and his father opened it, killing him and injuring George’s mother.

    Dad Two was sentenced to 22 years in prison for that, and Mom was on her own again. But then she found Dad Three, William, which might have been fine except that she met him at the Scientology mission in Anchorage where she worked. Kenny was being subjected to Scientology auditing by the age of nine.

    When his public school wanted to get him tested to find out what was holding him back, Mom and Dad Three freaked, thinking he was going to be poked and prodded by the “evil psychs,” Scientology’s ultimate enemies, the psychiatric profession. So they pulled Kenny out of there and homeschooled him. With Scientology materials.

    Kenny absorbed the Scientology mindset, watching videos his mother assigned, and enduring endless Scientology “training routines” that taught him to have a flat affect and exhibit zero emotion in the Scientology way. Eventually, he learned that it could come in handy. It sometimes worked with girls, for example. Enter Gloria.

    In Kenny’s early 20s, he met her online and practically right away moved in with her and her two kids. Well, they weren’t her kids. It was complicated.

    Gloria was from Bisbee, Arizona, which was like a Wasilla in the desert — some charm, some kitsch, and a lot of meth- and alcohol-ravaged families with serious social problems.

    Gloria’s sister Penny and her husband Erik had two kids — the older one we’ll call Deedee, and the younger one a boy we’ll call Darrel. It was Gloria who figured out that Penny and Erik were messing with Deedee sexually.

    Gloria turned in her own sister to the police. She then took Deedee and Darrel — with the state of Arizona’s blessing — and got the hell out of there. Alaska was about as far away as they could get. And then she met Kenny.

    Kenny fell in love with Gloria and her kids, hard. For several months, Kenny helped Gloria with Deedee and Darrel in Wasilla, and it was maybe the best time of his life. Not that that was saying much. Kenny worked but never seemed to have money.

    Mom and Dad Three were now running the Scientology mission in Anchorage, but Kenny didn’t have time or the cash for moving up the “Bridge to Total Freedom.” But he’d been a Scientologist since he was a kid, and he still considered himself one. He kept his TRs in, maintaining control of his emotions without even trying. He revered L. Ron Hubbard — it was just a part of who he was. Then, disaster.

    After Kenny had spent some time helping Gloria raise Deedee and Darrel, who were now 12 and 7, the state of Arizona changed its mind and ordered Gloria to give the children back to her sister, Penny, the mother who had gone to jail for molesting Deedee.

    Kenny and Gloria were devastated. The kids didn’t want to go. But they had no choice. One gut-wrenching separation scene later, the kids were back in Bisbee.

    Wasilla now felt like a prison. So Kenny left, heading for Missouri, where his grandmother and grandfather — his Mom’s parents — were living in a large house and admitted that they could use some help.

    It was an arrangement that suited Kenny and Gloria. And they started adding to the family, having two kids of their own. Then, another disaster.

    Back in Alaska, Mom and Dad Three, the Scientology super couple, were riding a motorcycle on a highway south of Anchorage, pulling a trailer for a camping weekend, when a Jeep traveling the other direction crossed over the centerline and hit them head-on. They died instantly.

    Or, their bodies did. As a Scientologist, Kenny knew that the people he thought of as Mom and Dad Three were actually immortal beings, thetans, who had lived countless times before, going back trillions of years on other planets and in other parts of the galaxy.

    Mom was the president of the Anchorage Scientology mission. Dad Three was its director. They were dedicated, serious church members. Kenny knew their eternities were assured — they’d just pick up new bodies and start over again. Kenny might even run into them again at some point. They’d be all right.

    At least, that’s how Kenny maintained his Scientology affect. But inside, he was hurting. As fucked up as his life in Alaska had been growing up at times, he had loved his Mom, despite her messed up history with men.

    But as he grieved, Kenny and Gloria had other worries. Although the state of Arizona was against it, Gloria was still secretly in contact with Deedee and Darrel, and what they were telling her made Kenny sick to his stomach.

    Their mother, Penny, was now living in Prescott Valley, Arizona, and with another guy, Troy, who didn’t get along well with them, and he really seemed to have it in for Darrel.

    Kenny and Gloria had Deedee come to Missouri for a visit, even though Penny didn’t like it. But they had come into a windfall after the death of Kenny’s parents that they weren’t expecting, and it emboldened them.

    Not long after that, the planet imploded. Deedee called Gloria with the news. Darrel’s fights with Penny’s new guy, Troy, had gotten so bad, they decided to institutionalize him.

    Darrel, a 9-year-old boy, was being held in the Child Psychiatry Unit at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The psychs had the boy Kenny had helped raise and who had been cruelly ripped from Gloria by the state of Arizona. The evil fucking psychs. From somewhere deep inside of Kenny, a rage began to build with surprising totality. This was beyond the power of his Scientology TRs to contain. He was being consumed by it.

    Darrel was in danger, his eternity threatened.

    Kenny’s path suddenly became clear. As a Scientologist, if there was one thing he embraced it was certainty. And in this, he had no doubt.

    Kenny went to a local bank and calmly took out $10,000 in cash, his affect back in place and his TRs in. And he started driving.

    Kenny needed to see Penny. He had to convince her that Darrel was in real danger, and that she had to get him out of the hospital psych ward and turn both of the kids over to him. Kenny figured he would give her the entire $10,000 if she wanted it. It made sense. It was decisive. So Kenny drove, and he drove.

    On March 16, 2012, Doniphan, Missouri resident Kenneth Wayne Thompson, 28, arrived in Prescott Valley, Arizona at the home of Penelope Edwards, 35, and her fiance Troy Dunn, 38.

    If Thompson intended for there to be some kind of negotiation, it apparently went horribly wrong.
    A few hours later, police and fire crews were called to Penny’s house, which was burning. Penny and Troy were found inside, their bodies showing signs that they had been bludgeoned and hacked to death.

    At almost the same time that the fire was being put out in Prescott Valley, an Arizona Highway Patrol officer pulled over the driver of a car with Missouri plates on I-40 near Flagstaff, a distance of about 90 miles. The driver seemed jumpy, and in the car the officer could see a backpack, a gasoline can and some dirty rubber gloves.

    The man’s story, which he told without being asked, was bizarre. He said he’d been at a wild animal park and was splattered with blood when a park ranger had sloppily tossed raw meat to some lions. The officer’s drug-sniffing dog made a hit on the car, and the officer had the man sit nearby while he searched it. In the backpack, he found a bloody hatchet and a handgun. There was also a bag with some grocery items, and a receipt from a shop in Prescott Valley. The officer alertly called police there, who told him that they were investigating a gruesome murder scene.

    Kenneth Thompson was taken into custody, and was later extradited to Yavapai County. He is charged with killing his sister-in-law Penny Edwards and her fiance Troy Dunn. He faces the death penalty if convicted. He’s been in Yavapai County Jail for six years awaiting trial.

    None of the news stories about his arrest or prosecution have mentioned his involvement in Scientology. His lawyers, however, plan to make it central to their defense.

    Jury selection begins tomorrow in Prescott.

    Our sources tell us the Church of Scientology is very nervous about any publicity linking it to an accused double murderer on trial for his life.

    Source, with open comments:

    Background:"Kenneth Wayne Thompson" Prescott

    Latest:"Kenneth Wayne Thompson" Prescott&tbs=sbd:1
  2. The Court Minutes for 5/14/18 states: "Defense notes their three major experts are in place: a Psychologist, Scientologist and Autism Expert."

    The Minutes also states: "Discussion ensues regarding the Scientology and Autism Expert reports."

    Link to Court docs provided by "Science Doc" on Tony Ortega's blog:

    You have to search for Case No. CR-201200355. Only Minute Entries are available. FWIW, my take is on this is that a Scientologist is not being called as an expert, but instead an expert on Scientology and on Scientologists is being called as witness.



    The Court Minutes for 6/18/18 reflects the Court GRANTED the State's (i.e., prosecutor's) motion to preclude Defendant's justification defense.

    "The Defendant argues that a reasonable person in Defendant's circumstance would have believed that physical or deadly force was immediately necessary to protect the children from the spiritual consequences of their situations."

    The Court rejected Defendant's argument for two reasons. First, the children weren't home at the time, so there was no immediate danger. Second, and more fundamentally, the Court ruled spiritual harm "as a matter of law, is insufficient to support the justification defense of others."


  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Attorney says Scientology may have played a role in a double homicide | and The Arizona Republic

    "An attorney for Kenneth Wayne Thompson is suggesting that Scientology may have played a role in a double homicide committed in 2012."

    Man's defense in double murder case: Scientology made me do it

    By Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, February 6, 2019


    He stands accused of using a hatchet to bludgeon his sister-in-law and her boyfriend to death and setting the house on fire to destroy any evidence. In a bid to escape the death penalty, he is trying a novel defense: Scientology made him do it.

    Kenneth Wayne Thompson is not arguing that Scientology turned him violent in March 2012. But he is saying his belief in the religion of Scientology helps explain his actions. In particular, he says, his devotion to Scientology's tenets led him on a 24-hour plus drive from his home in rural Missouri to the eventual murder scene in Arizona.

    Prosecutors say the marathon drive helps show Thompson committed the crimes with premeditation, an element of the first-degree murder convictions they are seeking. On each, the state of Arizona will ask for the death penalty.

    Thompson's attorneys will argue to the jury that the act was rational, if understood through the lens of Scientology. Thompson felt he needed to rescue a child, a nephew to his wife, because the boy's spiritual well-being was at risk.

    Neither the boy nor his sister were in the house at the time of the killings.

    Raising the defense will make the Scientology belief system part of the court case.

    Attorneys for Thompson have already subpoenaed records from the Florida-based church. They have also asked for testimony from Scientology experts, including the actress Leah Remini, who has produced documentaries critical of the religion.

    The defense has listed the Scientology "tone scale," a chart that purports to diagram all human emotions,among its evidence.

    Potential jurors were asked their thoughts about the religion. Tom Cruise's name was mentioned during opening arguments.

    Prosecutors had tried to get the judge to disallow the Scientology defense. In a brief filed before the trial began, the state said followers of any religion believe the theology to varying degree and it would not be clear to what extent Thompson hewed to Scientology's.

    Prosecutors also warned that the trial risked veering down a Scientology rabbit hole.

    "Presentation of evidence would have to be proceeded by a complex explanation of exactly what...followers of Scientology believe," prosecutors wrote in a March 2018 argument to the court.

    Yavapai Superior Court Judge Patricia Trebesch, who is presiding over the proceedings, ruled in January that the Scientology defense would be allowed.

    Continued at

    We told you a Scientologist double-murderer was on trial

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, February 6, 2019


    Trial resumes today in a double-murder case in Prescott, Arizona tomorrow after opening statements were made last week.

    The Arizona Republic captured some key portions of the defense statement which, as we predicted, included the information that Kenneth Thompson had grown up a Scientologist, had been indoctrinated to hate psychiatry, and was enraged that his wife’s former ward, a child of 9, had been put on “psych drugs” and had been confined to the Phoenix Children Hospital’s child psychiatry unit. Thompson took it out on the boy’s mother, Penny Edwards, and her fiance, Troy Dunn, killing them with a hatchet — something you will see the defense is not denying. (And we hear from our sources that the jury enjoyed the cute little aside about Tom Cruise.)

    With their argument that Scientology was part of what motivated Thompson, his defense team is trying to get him a life sentence rather than the death penalty.

    Continued with the above video and open comments at
  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    There's nothing really new here, just more exposure:

    Kenneth Wayne Thompson Uses Scientology Defense | Law & Crime

    Accused murderer wants to use Scientology for his defense | New York Post

    Man Accused of Double Murder Claims Scientology Made Him Do It | Newsweek
  5. The Wrong Guy Member

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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Double-murder trial nears its inevitable conclusion

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, February 18, 2019


    ...Thompson had a pretty fascinating background as the son of a woman who ran Scientology’s mission in Anchorage, Alaska, and that the defense was going to present testimony that it was the extreme anti-psychiatry views he had grown up with as a Scientologist that motivated Thompson to drive from Missouri to Arizona to the home of his victims. He allegedly believed was on a mission to save a 9-year-old boy he had helped raise from the “evil psychs” his sister-in-law had turned the boy over to.

    In order to make that point about Scientology’s extreme views against psychiatry, the defense had Susan Raine, a Canadian academic, testify last week, and then rested. After final arguments, the jury will get the case and we have no doubt that they will quickly find Thompson guilty of the murders (again, which the defense is not contesting).

    Then, the real action starts as the defense tries to use Thompson’s Scientology background as mitigating factors in an attempt to get him life in prison rather than the death penalty.

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  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology defense fails in Kenneth Thompson Prescott Valley murder trial

    By Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic, February 20, 2019


    He tried to convince jurors that his brutal slaying of two people in a Prescott Valley home was understandable when viewed through the lens of his Scientology beliefs.

    The jury did not buy it and, after just two hours of deliberation, found Kenneth Wayne Thompson guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday.

    Jurors will return on Friday to begin the sentencing phase, said Shelly Bacon, a spokeswoman for Yavapai County Superior Court. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case.

    Thompson’s attorneys used Scientology as part of a bid to spare their client the first-degree murder conviction and the possibility of a death sentence. They argued that Scientology explained why Thompson drove from his home in the Ozarks region of Missouri to the northern Arizona house of his sister-in-law that turned into a bloody and charred crime scene in March 2012.

    Thompson used a hatchet and knife to kill his sister-in-law, Penelope Edwards, and her boyfriend, Troy Dunn, according to court testimony. He then poured acid over the bodies and set the house on fire before fleeing the scene.

    Thompson, according to court testimony, aimed to rescue a child in the couple’s custody who was being subjected to behavioral-health treatments, including the use of anti-depressants. As a person raised as a Scientologist, Thompson believed that psychiatric treatment was damaging to the child’s eternal soul.

    "(Scientologists) think psychology is evil and a scam," defense attorney Robert Gundacker told jurors in his opening statement. He also invoked the name of Tom Cruise, the movie actor and Scientologist who famously railed against psychology during an interview on NBC's "Today" show in 2005.

    Prosecutors told the jurors that the marathon drive of some 1,400 miles, made in just over a day, was one of many pieces of evidence that showed Thompson had an intent to commit homicide.

    Among the other such evidence described or shown to jurors was footage of Thompson buying the murder weapons and a change of clothes at a Walmart that morning, his purchase of a temporary cellphone despite already owning a working one and his deceptive answers to police upon his arrest.

    Thompson was stopped along Interstate 40, headed east and out of Arizona, hours after he used diesel fuel and flares to spark a fire at the home. A highway trooper parked along the side of the highway looking for speeders sensed something odd about Thompson as he drove past and followed him long enough to find an excuse to pull Thompson over.

    Inside the car, the trooper found a hatchet covered with blood and the long hair of one of the victims. He radioed into the dispatch office to check if there were unusual crimes in the area and was told about the fire in a Prescott Valley home with two dead bodies inside.


    Church teachings presented

    The trial included references and testimony about the Church of Scientology, a religion started in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard. Some of the earliest meetings of believers of the faith originated while Hubbard lived in Phoenix in a home at the base of Camelback Mountain.

    Jurors heard an expert in the religion testify about its origins, including the story of a warlord named Xenu who buried beings in a volcano on what is now Planet Earth. The expert also spoke about the use of introspective counseling called “auditing” that can rid the body of unwanted thetans, leaving a person in the desired state of “clear.”

    A Church of Scientology spokesperson, Karin Pouw, in a statement sent to The Republic, expressed regret that the religion was the subject of the trial, saying the testimony about Scientology was distorted and incorrect, contributing to “hate, intolerance and bigotry.”

    “There is no connection between Scientology beliefs and practices and any act taken by Kenneth Thompson at issue in the case,” the statement read. “Nothing he did could be more opposed to our moral code.”

    In closing arguments last week, Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Steve Young echoed that sentiment.

    "Why is Scientology even injected into this trial?" he asked. "Scientology is not on trial; the defendant is. Scientology did not kill (the victims); the defendant did."

    More at
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  8. The author of the story, Richard Ruelas, confirmed my understanding that during the penalty phase the defendant will still be permitted to argue Scientology indoctrination as a mitigating factor to avoid the death penalty.


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