Man charged with murder in 5 deaths
DETROIT – A man was charged Friday with killing his girlfriend, their daughter and three other children, as mourners from all over the city streamed by the victims’ home to place toys, cards and candles at a makeshift shrine.
Roger Thompson, 36, was arrested Thursday after a 13-year-old girl who survived the bloodshed alerted police. Thompson was caught running through a vacant lot across the street from the rundown bungalow in the northeast section of the city.
“These five horrible deaths illustrate in the strongest possible terms the problem we have with family violence in this country,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.
Thompson had not previously been arrested for domestic violence, and had no criminal record.
“We don’t have any indication that this has occurred in this home before. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t – we just know there haven’t been any police reports, there hasn’t been any indication that would lead one to believe that we could have prevented this,” Worthy said.
Worthy gave no details about a possible motive and did not discuss the cause of the deaths. She said Thompson had been “quite remorseful.”
Thompson is the father of the youngest victim, 9-year-old Aushanai Thompson. Relatives said he and Aushanai’s mother, 33-year-old Lisa Shelton, had an on-again, off-again relationship.
The other victims were Shelton’s children: William Parker Jr., 16, Wrandell Parker, 14, and Wanee Parker, 12. The girl who escaped was Shelton’s sister.
Thompson was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. Michigan does not have the death penalty.
At Thompson’s arraignment Friday evening, Magistrate Steve Lockhart entered an innocent plea on his behalf and ordered him held without bond.
The suspect’s mother, Mary Thompson of Georgia, sat sobbing in a wheelchair after the hearing. “He needs help,” she said. “Pray for my child, pray for Lisa’s family.”
Meanwhile, mourners visited a makeshift shrine outside the victims’ home to add to the collection of stuff animals and other offerings.
“I just really came to pray for the kids to be at peace and the mother to be at peace,” said Alex Dawkins, a 39-year-old auto mechanic who brought teddy bears.
A few relatives of the victims also came by the house, which had garbage in the yard, plastic over the windows and was roped off by police tape.
“She was my world,” said Shelton’s 20-year-old sister, Tyann. “She was my best friend.”