IN LOVING MEMORY:

Renee Najah Thomas

PASSED AWAY JAN 2, 2015

Renee Najah Thomas
Pennsylvania
# OO7235 (SCI Muncy)
DOB Aug 1,1958
Life Without Parole + 2.5~5 years. (1984)
Time Served 30 years
(Sentenced by Judge Szabo)

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Renee Thomas Letter

Beaten, Abused and Wrongfully Convicted

By Renee N. Thomas



My name is Renée Thomas. I was born in 1958. I am housed at the State correctional institution at Muncie. I've been here since 1984. On May 2, 1983, I was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy. On March 4, 1985, I was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 2 1/2 to 5 years, by the notorious Judge Albert Szabo. I was wrongly at accused of the crime. I don't deny having a separate physical altercation with the victim, but I didn't kill or urge anyone to kill the victim.

A Shooting on the Street.

On May 3, 1983, I was pushing my sister's baby in her carriage when I came upon two acquaintances Scoota and George. George owed me money. When I asked George for the money, he responded, "bitch. I'll give it to you when I want to!"

Then, in broad daylight, he mugged and threw me to the street. As I was getting up, I noticed a trashcan with a stick. I grabbed the stick and hit George in the legs. This altercation was witnessed by many people.

My codefendant, Freddie Brown suddenly engaged George Stanford. The talk became violent and soon Freddie shot George. My mother witnessed and reported the shooting to the police.

Even though George Stanford treated me so horribly, my first instinct was to offer help. Still standing, I helped him lay down. But everyone who lives in Philadelphia knows that the police in Philadelphia tend to blame anybody around for crimes without even investigating. So when the sirens sounded, I needed to leave. I didn't want to be harassed or questioned by the police about a shooting that I did not do. Besides, I was already on probation and didn't need any more problems with the law.

Boyfriend or boy enemy?

A word about Freddie Brown. Though he was my boyfriend at the time, after witnessing the shooting, I didn't want anything more to do with him. I knew he was brutal, and though I hate to admit it, I had even been stabbed by him before.

Needless to say, on the night of the murder, Freddie found me at my sisters house. My sister was living with her three children. When he entered the house, we could see that he was crazed by the shooting. We felt like hostages because he would not let us move around. We were all walking on pins and needles.

I could not put my sister and her children through this. So I agreed to stay with Freddie as his girlfriend if he would just take me out of there and leave. He agreed.

Escape to California, Nevada

We left Philadelphia and went to Los Angeles. We stayed with some people whom I knew, but Freddie became paranoid. And I became his prisoner. He would lock me in the house and take the phones with him when he went to work every day.

One day I started searching through his stuff trying to figure a way to get out of there. I found a box with a gun. I didn't know that he had a gun and all of a sudden the murder came back into my mind. I became extremely afraid for my life.

Soon after that, my friend Darlene Thompson and I discussed ways for me to escape. The two of us fled together and went to Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the phone, I learned from my friends back in LA that Freddie started threatening them to learn of my whereabouts. They lied and said I went back to Philadelphia. He soon left for Philadelphia to try and find me. All too happy to see him get on the bus and leave, they paid for his ticket.

Once I knew he was going back to Philadelphia, I became afraid that he was going to hurt my family in the event that he could not find me. So I contacted the police and informed them that Freddie was back in Philadelphia. Naturally, the cops wanted to know about me, and claimed I was involved with the murder. I made it clear that I was not involved with the murder, and that I would speak to them when I returned to Philadelphia.

Soon thereafter, Freddie was apprehended at his mother's house.

Turning Myself In

While I was out in Las Vegas, the police frequently visited my mother's home in Philadelphia on more than one occasion seeking information about the incident. A warrant was issued for my arrest. Knowing that I was completely innocent, I decided to turn myself in. I returned to Philadelphia to be arrested and charged with murder.

What was the evidence against me? Freddie became enraged upon learning that I was the one who called the police, made a statement, and informed them of his whereabouts. He later changed his own statement to implicate me in the murder.

At trial, it was Freddie's word against mine. I was tried in front of Judge Szabo, who was notorious for sentencing black defendants to death and life imprisonment. I was defended by attorney Barry Dinka, who did not like the judge. Barry and I argued throughout the trial about the conflict between him and the judge. I was found guilty as an accomplice, and received a sentence of life imprisonment to second degree murder

When I was first came to Muncy, conditions were very different than today. Security was somewhat lax, and prisoners could actually walk off the grounds. Freddy wrote letters from the men's prison talking about escape just to kill me. I was filled with anxiety and requested placement to a specially protected unit. My fears of this man have decreased little over the years.

I have been incarcerated for 30 years, and I am innocent of murder. Pennsylvania does not grant parole to lifers. Please do what you can to change this dreadful system.






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Now in the last stages of terminal cancer, Renee's family requests that you sign her
Petition for Compassionate Release

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