James Thomas, 24, was indicted by a grand jury Friday on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree robbery. The new charges are in addition to six felony counts of evidence tampering for which Thomas was arrested and charged in May.
In a bail memorandum, prosecutors say Thomas had spent time with Reeves looking at used vehicles that Reeves was considering for purchase. He also said he had received a text message from Reeves that he was sick and at an emergency room receiving treatment -- although a check of local hospitals revealed that Reeves had received no such treatment.
Reeves was last heard from April 22, prompting an intensive search for the JBER fuel technician that brought his parents to Anchorage, as well as aid from James Koenig, the father of slain barista Samantha Koenig. Reeves’ body was discovered May 8 in a ravine near Skyline Drive in Eagle River.
Prosecutors claim Thomas lied about the case to APD and Air Force investigators, at first denying any knowledge but later claiming that an unknown gunman escorted a bloodied Reeves from his apartment at gunpoint on the night of April 19.
Thomas allegedly burned clothing he said was bloodied during a cleanup of the apartment, drove Reeves’ rental car to a spot on the 200 block of McCarrey Street in Mountain View where it was later found, and tried to dispose of a love seat at the Club Apartments in South Anchorage.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that state medical examiners determined that Reeves died from multiple blunt-force strikes to his head.
“The physical evidence belies Mr. Thomas’ stories to law enforcement,” prosecutors wrote. “In Thomas’ Nissan pick-up, detectives located a claw-type hammer. The Alaska State Crime Lab determined the hammer’s head and claw to be stained with human blood. The State Crime Lab is processing the hammer in an effort to determine if the blood belongs to (Reeves).”
APD also examined a co-worker’s cellphone, which was borrowed by Thomas between May 4 and May 6. Both the phone and video surveillance in the Skyline Drive area show that Thomas had traveled to the vicinity.
Further analysis of Thomas’ own cellphone also yielded incriminating evidence.
“Detectives also analyzed Thomas’ cell phone (which had been seized on May 4, 2012),” prosecutors wrote. “Forensic analyses of the cell phone show that Thomas visited various websites that reference how to dispose of a human body shortly after Reeves disappeared.”
Bail for Thomas had been set Friday at $100,000 and he pleaded not guilty to the new charges Tuesday.
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