Thal's Neighbor Arrested in NoLibs Double Murder

Female tenant allegedly let killers into building

By Vince Lattanzio
|  Friday, Jul 3, 2009  |  Updated 7:58 AM EDT
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Surveillance Video: Suspects and Victims

Katoya Jones and one of the suspects can be seen walking off the elevator in this surveillance video from inside The Navona apartment building.

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Surprising Arrest in Piazza Double Murders

A surprising twist in the murder investigation of two people inside a trendy Northern Liberties apartment complex.

Surveillance Video: Suspects and Victims

Here is the raw surveillance video showing how the gunmen got into the complex. It also shows Rian Thal and Timothy Gilmore seconds before they were murdered.
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Philadelphia Police have arrested a woman they say helped plan the violent double murder of Rian Thal and Timothy Gilmore.

Katoya Jones, 25, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder, conspiracy, robbery, burglary, criminal trespass, possession of an instrument of crime. She lives in the same apartment complex as Thal, police said.

Thal, 34, and Gilmore, 40, of Ohio, were gunned down inside The Navona at Schmidt's, a trendy apartment complex in Northern Liberties, just after 6 p.m. last Saturday. Investigators found four kilos of cocaine and more than $100,000 in cash inside Thal's apartment.

Surveillance video shows Jones walking into the apartment building, allowing one of the gunmen to follow her in and then getting onto an elevator with him, according to police. They traveled to the second floor, parting ways -- not even acknowledging each other. That man later opened the front door of the building for three other men who helped ambush and murder the duo steps from Thal's condo door.

Jones' arrest comes as a surprise to many. She was not a shooter, has no criminal record and did not know Thal or Gilmore, but played a "significant role" in the murders, Police Sgt. Ray Evers told NBC10. Police believe she did not have a close relationship with the suspects and may have been "instructed" to help them gain access to the building. By whom, authorities will not say at this point.

Until now, investigators have been focusing their efforts on locating the four unidentified men and a fifth man who was inside Thal's apartment during the shootings.

That man is believed to be Gilmore's Ohio roommate. He was seen on security cameras leaving the apartment after the shootings -- calmly walking past the gruesome murder scene and getting on an elevator with a duffle bag thrown over his shoulder. He and Gilmore may have used a trucking company as a front for drug trafficking. Police impounded their tractor-trailer near The Piazza at Schmidt's, but did not find any traces of drugs.

Thal, an event planner and promoter known as "the white girl" in the hip-hop nightlife scene, became a big-time dealer with a specialty powder cocaine she supplied to other dealers, sources told the Daily News. Her funeral was Tuesday.

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