Man, 70, Stoned to Death for Being Gay: Police

Suspect said the Old Testament told him that gays must be stoned, police say

By Teresa Masterson
|  Monday, Mar 28, 2011  |  Updated 5:00 PM EDT
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Investigators arrested <a title=John Thomas in the beating death of an elderly Delaware County man. Police say he admitted his guilt and blamed the teachings of the Old Testament." />

NBCPhiladelphia.com - Deanna Durante

Investigators arrested John Thomas in the beating death of an elderly Delaware County man. Police say he admitted his guilt and blamed the teachings of the Old Testament.

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A 28-year-old Upper Darby man has been charged with murder after telling police that he stoned a 70-year-old man to death when the man made sexual advances toward him, authorities say.

John Joe Thomas, 28, of Sunshine Road in Upper Darby, spent almost every day with 70-year-old Murray Seidman at Seidman’s Lansdowne home, police say. Days before Seidman’s body was found on Jan. 12, Thomas allegedly beat Seidman to death with a sock full of rocks.

Thomas told authorities that he read in the Old Testament that gays should be stoned to death. When Seidman allegedly made sexual advances toward him over a period of time, Thomas said he received a message in his prayers that he must end Seidman’s life, according to court documents.

Police say that Thomas struck Seidman in the head about 10 times with the sock of rocks. Thomas left Seidman dead in his apartment, and then threw his bloody clothing and the bloody sock in a dumpster, according to authorities.

Though the relationship is still unknown, Thomas was the sole executor of Seidman's will and knew how much money was in Seidman's bank accounts, police say.

Thomas told police that he returned to Seidman’s apartment several days later on Jan. 12 to make it appear like he just discovered the body.

When police arrived, they found Thomas crying in the hallway of the apartment building saying, “I’m not going down there again. There is too much blood.”

Police found dried blood spatter on the living room floor, walls, and furniture. Seidman’s body was laying face down on the living room floor, police said.

According to Delaware County Medical Examiner Fredric Hellman, Seidman died of multiple blunt force trauma. He said Seidman had been dead between five and 10 days before police found the body.

Thomas is being held on first-degree murder charges.

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