Man Freed for Murder by Innocence Project and Given $4M 'Becomes Drug Dealer And Kills Man Over $1,200'

Chris Menahan
May. 24, 2023

Shaurn Thomas, a black man who was freed for murder in Philadelphia by the Innocence Project and given $4 million in restitution by the state, allegedly became a drug dealer upon release, killed a man for owing him a $1,200 drug debt and told his accomplice it was his "third" homicide.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Philly man got $4M after his murder case was overturned. Hes now accused of murder over $1,200.":
Shaurn Thomas was a millionaire, but prosecutors say he killed a man over a $1,200 drug debt.

Thomas was paid more than $4 million three years ago after spending 24 years behind bars for a murder conviction that was later overturned.

And yet, a witness said in court Monday, he fatally shot a man on a North Philadelphia street corner earlier this year over the comparatively paltry sum.

"He said it was the principle," Ketra Veasy, accused of being Thomas' getaway driver in the new crime, testified through tears on the witness stand. She said Thomas confessed to the killing as she drove them both back to her house afterward.

Thomas stands accused of killing of 38-year-old Akeem Edwards, who was fatally shot on the 3500 block of Germantown Avenue on Jan. 3. On Monday, Municipal Court Judge Wendy Pew held Thomas for trial on charges of first-degree murder and related crimes.

Prosecutors also added a new charge of witness intimidation, saying Thomas sought to have Veasy killed earlier this spring because he thought she may have spoken to authorities. Veasy pleaded guilty on Friday to counts including conspiracy and aggravated assault, prosecutors said.

[...] Video played at Monday's hearing showed a man in a hoodie and jeans walking up and down the block for a few minutes. The man, who prosecutors say is Thomas, can then be seen shooting Edwards while concealing his hands with a pizza box.

After the crime, Veasy said, Thomas came running back into her car and said: "He's hit, he's down, just drive," while moving to put his gun back in his waistband.

Veasy said she was scared, and "did what he told me to do." She said as she drove back to Delaware with Thomas, he made a mysterious allusion to his past.

"He said it's his third homicide and he said he can't go back to jail," she said.
"It was not clear from the testimony what other killings Thomas may have been referring to," The Inquirer said.

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