New Castle News

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February 6, 2014

District attorney to seek death penalty in slaying

NEW CASTLE — Carlos Thompson could face the death penalty if convicted in the shooting death of a local man.

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa said Wednesday he intends to file for a certification of aggravating circumstances in the Jan. 30 homicide of Robert Quincy Brown, 35.

Brown, who had addresses on Sciota Street in New Castle and Mercer Road in Neshannock Township, was shot in the forehead around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 30 on the city’s South Side.

Thompson, 37, of 928 W. Washington St., was arrested Tuesday, accused in the slaying.

He is charged with first-degree murder, criminal homicide, robbery and illegal possession of a firearm. He is in jail without bond, pending a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

A criminal complaint filed in court said Thompson admitted to shooting Brown after Brown had accused Thompson of killing Brown’s cousin.

Based on autopsy results, court documents note, Thompson put a .380 handgun against Brown’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

Thompson has a homicide conviction from 2000, when he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and a firearms charge. He was out of prison on state parole when Brown was shot, according to New Castle Police Chief Bobby Salem.

Lamancusa explained that to certify aggravated circumstances for the death penalty, certain criteria must be met.

Thompson has a prior conviction of a violent crime, is a felon not to possess a gun and allegedly took the life of the victim while committing another felony, he said.

“Based on those factors, I can certify the case for the death penalty, which I will do,” he said, adding that will be prior to Thompson’s formal arraignment, if charges are bound over from the preliminary hearing.

Then, after the arraignment, the case would proceed to trial, and upon conviction, go into the death penalty phase.

Lamancusa said lethal injection is the sole method of execution in Pennsylvania. The last one in the state was 1999.

According to police, they found Brown’s 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix, running with its lights on and the driver’s side door open, in a field off Sciota Street, and Brown lying facedown nearby with a pool of blood surrounding his head.

Brown had a gunshot wound over his left eye and a partially burned cigarette under him.

An autopsy showed powder burns around the bullet wound were consistent with a contact gunshot. The pathologist removed a copper jacket and lead slug from Brown’s head, according to the report.

Surveillance camera video from a nearby business shows Brown parking his car where police found it, and the suspect in a black Monte Carlo behind him in an alley.

It allegedly shows Brown getting out of his car and walking over to Thompson’s, then Thompson getting out of his car and walking around the back of it where they talked on the passenger’s side.

Brown and Thompson appeared to hug, then Brown collapsed, Thompson bent over, picked up something from near Brown, then drove away.

The incident was recorded around 1:20 a.m., police said.

Officers learned that earlier that night, the two men had argued at a downtown bar and Brown had $3,000 he was planning to spend on marijuana. Police said they didn’t find the money in Brown’s car or at the shooting scene.

Salem said that on Tuesday, officers found Thompson at a friend’s house on the North Hill, and he went to the police station for an interview.

He initially denied involvement in Brown’s death, then said that while they were at the bar that night, Brown had accused him of killing his cousin. Thompson told police that later at another bar, Brown had blocked in his car, then rolled down his window and told Thompson to follow him. He said when they had stopped on Sciota Street they had a conversation and Brown accused him again of killing his cousin.

Thompson told police Brown had tried to hug him and he thought Brown was going to shoot him, so he shot Brown.

He said he then patted Brown to see if he had a gun but did not find one and did not take anything.

Police said Thompson told them he had thrown the gun by a bridge near the Columbus Innerbelt.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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