Guilty plea in killing of 70-year-old Lansdowne man

Pictured: Joe John Thomas and Murray Seidman (Seidman photo courtesy Delaware County Times)

February 28, 2012 7:55:40 AM PST
A suburban Philadelphia man has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the stoning death of his elderly neighbor and friend more than a year ago.

Twenty-nine-year-old John Thomas of Upper Darby was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in the January 2011 death of 70-year-old Murray Seidman of Lansdowne.

Authorities said Thomas told police that he killed Seidman with a rock stuffed in a sock. He alleged that the victim had made unwanted sexual advances and said he acted because the Bible refers to stoning homosexuals.

Defense attorney Mary Beth Welch said Thomas had been hospitalized multiple times due to severe mental illness, but is now on medication and feels extremely remorseful.

Thomas apologized to the victim's relatives Friday in Delaware County Court, saying that he deeply regretted his actions.


Information from: Delaware County Daily Times