Murray and Johnson plead Guilty to Killing Lawrence “Shine’ Thornton

Greenville, MS – In Washington County Circuit Court, Geblonski Murray and Edward Johnson pled guilty to killing Lawrence “Shine” Thornton, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today.  Both men had been indicted by a Washington County grand jury for Capital Murder and other charges stemming from crimes committed between October 17 and 18, 2013.

On Tuesday, both Murray and Johnson pled guilty to Second Degree Murder, Robbery, and Auto Burglary.  The charges stemmed from the October 18, 2013 killing of Mr. Thornton where Geblonski Murray admitted to physically assaulting Mr. Thornton causing his death.  This crime occurred at Shine Thornton’s home on Toni Street here in Greenville, MS.  Both defendants were present when this crime took place and they both also admitted to committing a unrelated robbery the day prior to killing Mr. Thornton.

At the sentencing hearing, John Thornton, the eldest son of Lawrence “Shine” Thornton spoke on behalf of the family and addressed the court and both defendants.  During the sentencing hearing John Thornton went into grave detail of his father’s injuries and death and stated, “That we are hoping that one day you will think about what you have done to someone that was loved so much and that the Thornton Family hopes that somewhere in the next 40 years that these defendants will think about what they did and that it will cause a positive change in their lives in some way.”

After hearing from the family with regards to sentencing, Judge Ashley Hines sentenced both Murray and Johnson to the State’s recommendation.  Geblonski Murray was sentenced to a total of 45 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.  Murray will serve the first 40 years in prison without any opportunity for early release or parole and will be on probation for the last 5 years.  Edward Johnson was sentenced to a total of 35 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections where he will serve the duration of his sentence. Johnson will serve the first 30 years in prison and then be on probation for the last 5 years of his sentence.

Richardson added that, “the District Attorney’s office hopes that these convictions give the family and friends of Lawrence “Shine” Thornton a sense of relief that his killers have been brought to justice.”

May 27, 2015
Contact: W. Dewayne Richardson
District Attorney, Fourth Circuit Court District | 662-378-2105

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