GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Richard Thomas, newly accused in the 1971 murder of a Marine on leave in Grand Rapids, is currently serving a life sentence for the ambush murder of a gas station owner 37 years ago.
On January 30, 1974, Thomas crouched in the bushes outside a Sunoco station at Grandville and B Street in Grand Rapids. He waited for owner Robert Groothuis to show up for work, and when he did, Thomas gunned him down.
He had previously served time for breaking into that same gas station in 1970.
At the time he was sentenced to a life in prison for the Groothuis murder, the laws technically allowed the possibility of parole.
But Detective Sgt. Sally Wolter of the Michigan State Police said the new charges he faces for killing Elijah Butler in 1971 "should remove this notion (of parole) from his head."
She told 24 Hour News 8 the break in the Butler case came from using investigative subpoenas which allows police to question witnesses and compel truthful testimony. Under this process, the penalty for perjury could be life in prison.
24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this case.
People mobbed the streets in East Lansing, set fires and flipped a car after MSU's win over OSU.
An online campaign has already raised thousands of dollars to help the owner of a car that was flipped over during early Sunday's riot in East Lansing.
Police are offering up to $20,000 in rewards for information leading to convictions.