Murderer killed in jail after hacking sister-in-law and boyfriend to death

A death row inmate, who claimed his belief in Scientology compelled him to hack his sister-in-law and her boyfriend to death, has been murdered in prison.

Kenneth W. Thompson from Missouri was found murdered by other inmates at around 1 pm on Wednesday (December 29), authorities confirmed.

The 38-year-old inmate was confined to a 86 square-foot, single man cell housing unit at Arizona State Prison Eyman, MailOnline reports.

His death is under investigation but two prisoners responsible for the attack have been identified, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry said.

Thompson committed the murder in 2012 after learning that his nephew has been prescribed psychiatric medication, which jeopardised the ‘eternal soul’ according to his Scientology beliefs.

On March 16, 2012, after driving more than 24 hours to the family home in Prescott Valley, Arizona, Thompson butchered Penelope Edwards and Troy Dunn with a hatchet.

He proceeded to pour acid over their corpses and set fire to their home in a bid to cover his tracks, as reported by Mail Online.

Thompson was detained by police shortly after leaving the scene when neighbours reported the house fire. A search of his car revealed the murder weapon, with human hair and blood still on its blade.

His nephew had been checked into a hospital for mental health treatment and was not home at the time.

In 2019 Thompson’s case finally went to trial, where the jury found him guilty on two counts of first-degree murder, arson and several other felonies.

He was also given a death sentence, though it is unclear when he was scheduled to be executed.

While his lawyers didn’t dispute the murders, they argued that Thompson felt compelled to rescue the children from spiritual death.

Scientologists believe that taking psychiatric medication is 'evil and a scam,' and jeopardizes the eternal soul. Thompson was raised a Scientologist but was not practising at the time of the murders.

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Thompson's then-wife, Gloria, wasn’t aware of where her husband was heading the day before the murder. He reportedly told her he was travelling to Memphis.

As he drove toward Memphis, he impulsively decided to head to Arizona. He stayed at a motel and bought the hatchet and a change of clothes at a nearby Walmart before taking a taxi to Edwards' house, where his attorneys claimed he planned to bribe the women to let him take her children back to Missouri with him.

In direct testimony, Thompson said the conversation turned violent and he attacked in the heat of passion.

His lawyers had sought a conviction for manslaughter. Instead, the jury found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to death.

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