Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tommy D. Arthur - Life Without Parole?

The DNA evidence, or what's left of it, has been examined and doesn't match that of Thomas Douglas Arthur. Specifically, the semen collected from Judy Wicker's underwear matches that of her husband Troy. Judy Wicker, who now uses the name Mary Turner, has changed her story many times; the facts of her husband's execution style murder may never be known. Does that mean Arthur will soon gain his freedom?

At the time of his arrest for Wicker's murder, Arthur was serving a life sentence at the Decatur Work Release Center for the 1977 murder of Eloise West, the sister of his girlfriend/common-law wife Shirley Dodd, a crime he freely admitted. Arthur also admits that on the day of Troy Wicker's murder he was not at his assigned job, a disciplinary offense that would hinder his chance of parole for West's murder.

After Arthur's arrest for the 1982 murder of Wicker, he escaped the Colbert County Jail while awaiting a second trial. During the escape, Arthur used a gun his daughter Sherrie Arthur Stone ostensibly smuggled to him in a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Arthur wounded a jailer in the neck while escaping.

Once free, Arthur fled to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he robbed a bank of $9,000.00, abducted a hostage, and stole two cars. He still faces a 30-year sentence for those crimes should he ever be released from the Alabama Prison System.

Tommy Arthur's chances of release are seemingly nil. Even if the Wicker conviction is overturned, Arthur faces charges in Alabama of escape and attempted murder, for which he would be tried as a violent habitual offender. If convicted, he would be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Is his conviction for these crimes a given? Considering his track record, nothing seems a certainty for Arthur. For over thirty years, he's provided the public with more thrills and chills than a Saturday matinee. Stay tuned.

Tommy Arthur trivia: According to one source, Eloise West and Shirley Dodd are sisters to Donald Bray, father of convicted Russellville murderess Christie Bray Scott. It's a small world.