Peggy O’Hare, Houston Chronicle, January 20, 2010
A family dispute pushed Maron Thomas to go on a rampage marked by a fury so intense that he decapitated his 2-year-old niece with a machete after killing her and four other family members, Austin County investigators said Wednesday.
Thomas, 20, was charged Wednesday with capital murder in the shooting deaths of his mother, stepfather, sister, brother and his niece. He remains in the Austin County Jail with bail set at $1 million.
The massacre happened between midnight Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday at the family’s home 7 miles outside the Bellville city limits, on FM 1456 between Buckhorn and Cochran.
Thomas then allegedly burglarized a car and was arrested around 3 a.m. after being caught trying to break into a house a mile and a half away while he was naked, investigators said. A neighbor held him at gunpoint until deputies arrived and arrested him on burglary charges. When deputies arrived, he had put on a pair of exercise shorts.
Thomas’ sister, Ka’Tara Price, 24, of Houston, said she believes anger and Thomas’ conversion to the Muslim religion influenced his actions. She said she is not aware of him suffering from any mental illness.
While in jail Sunday afternoon on the burglary charges, Maron Thomas admitted to officers that he had killed members of his family, investigators said. As deputies drove to the slain family’s home, other relatives called the Austin County Sheriff’s Office to report they had found the bodies–about 12 hours after the slayings had occurred.
All killed were found inside the house except for Cedric Thomas, whose nude body was found outdoors in a wooded area behind the residence, Maxwell said. Price said she was told he had been chased there.
Near Cedric Thomas’ body, investigators found a shotgun and handgun, both believed to have been used in the crime, he said. Investigators aren’t yet sure who owns those guns.
The machete used in the decapitation was found inside the residence. The toddler’s severed head was found near her body, Faircloth said.