Plea bargain in June Collard case

Thomas Collard has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of his wife, June Collard, who was profiled on the Charley Project and is now in the resolved section. She was missing for thirty years until her body was found last summer. He faces 8 to 25 years in prison — less than the time June lay buried underneath his house. Several plea deals were in fact offered, but Thomas rejected all the previous ones. He is 62 years old. He may very well die in custody. I hope he does. He is a despicable and cowardly person.

Now, what I want to know is where is that woman that kept posting nasty comments on my blog posts about this case, accusing me of making all kinds of factual errors and “bungling” my reporting of the case and “fabricating” details when I wasn’t doing any of those things? One of the things she yelled at me about was my saying I figured a plea bargain would probably occur in this case. She said a plea bargain would definitely NOT happen and I should have known that, and I was irresponsible or something if I didn’t know that.

Where are you now and what do you have to say for yourself? *offers crow drumstick*

Okay, so it’s a little immature of me. Must be the 30 mg of morphine I consumed a few hours ago.

11 thoughts on “Plea bargain in June Collard case

  1. Tracey Reitterer February 8, 2011 / 7:00 pm

    I know you’ve stated you don’t believe in the death penalty, Meaghan, but how can you not agree someone like this guy being the poster child for execution?? You said yourself, “he faces 8 to 25 years in prison – less than the time June lay buried underneath his house.”
    He ended her life. He had no reason to do that. He kept silent, forcing her loved ones to endure a waking nightmare for 30 years. Why should they work & pay taxes to keep someone as dispicable as him alive, fed, clothed & entertained for the rest of his life in prison?
    He lied to everyone for 30 years about having anything to do with her death. Just cuz he gives up her body location means what – he should get rewarded by a lesser sentence than death for taking her life for no good reason?? He killed her, plain & simple. I could care less why; he ended her life & had no right too. For that, he should pay with his own life.
    For those who oppose the death penalty, saying it’s the same thing when the states execute is wrong. State imposed execution is not the same as criminals committing murder. The death penalty is suppose to make people accountable for their actions, as a deterrent to crime, to protect the innocent. Prisoners, escape, cause uprisings, commit extreame violence & murder from within prisons. Why take that chance when we have the ability to eliminate despicable people from society?! They are in there cuz they have proven they cannot live by society’s rules.
    I’m sick to death of hearing about people taking others out of this world due to their petty ass reasons. It’s even more disgusting to hear others justify why caring about the rights of violent offenders is so important.
    All I can say is, you are a more forgiving person than me.

    NO 2ND CHANCES FOR SEX OFFENDERS, RAPISTS, MURDERERS OR ANY OTHER VIOLENT OFFENDERS! The 2nd time around may be your child or loved one. ENFORCE THE DEATH PENALTY! If the thought of losing your freedom or life isn’t enough to deter criminals, let them die for their heinous crimes against the innocent.

    “Victims have a dignitary interest in justice & vindication without interminable delay caused by guilty prisoners attempts to stave off punishment.”

    “Too much mercy, often resulted in further crimes which were fatal to innocent victims who need not have been victims if justice had been put first and mercy second.” – Agatha Christie

    Tracey in MD

    • Meaghan February 9, 2011 / 12:59 am

      I don’t believe in the death penalty, though that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t mind if certain people didn’t get run over by a bus on their way to prison. (Notice I didn’t say “get shanked in prison” or “accidentally fall from a fifth-tier cell.” I think the violence, particularly rape, that goes on in our prisons is disgraceful and a blot on our nation as a whole, and should not be allowed to continue. Prisons are an American institution just as surely as tax offices, the DMV, schools, etc., and should be orderly places where rules are kept, people are treated humanely, and violence isn’t allowed to happen. Even the thought of Rollo becoming someone’s bitch wouldn’t bring me any pleasure. Okay, not MUCH pleasure.)

      Don’t know enough about the Collard case to form an opinion on whether Thomas is one of them.

    • Meaghan February 10, 2011 / 2:01 pm

      I once actually did call someone a “poster boy for the death penalty.” I finally remembered who it was: Clarence Ray Allen. He ran a criminal gang and was imprisoned for life for arranging the murder of a teenager named Mary Sue Kitts (http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/k/kitts_mary.html ) whose body was never found. He was sentenced to life in prison. Whilst in prison he took out contract hits on eight of the witnesses who testified against him in the Kitts trial. One witness and two innocent bystanders were murdered before the police were able to arrest the two hired killers. So, though he was even in prison, Allen was still an extremely dangerous man who had three people killed. This time he did get the DP but it took 25 years to actually execute him.

      THAT’s a “poster boy for the death penalty.” Even I can see that.

  2. Tracey Reitterer February 11, 2011 / 5:51 am

    Wow, the Kitts case certainly was a convoluted, yet heartbreaking one involving so much unnecessary death. And so sad they were never able to locate her body.

    I know you don’t do follow through’s on cases, Meaghan, but when I hear about older disappearances such as that one, I’m always curious to know if cold case detectives have revisited them in recent years in order to get DNA from surviving family members. Forensic advancements have come such a long way & coroners from all over the country, who once thought to keep samples of unidentified Jane & John Doe’s on file or in storage are now submitting them for database comparison to missing persons cases. Even if bodies were later cremated or buried in poor potters fields, descendants, can still sometimes get answers to what happened to loved ones from decades earlier – if the forensics are there to be matched. Unfortunately, sometimes families die off without ever getting answers or justice & that’s a shame. If Mary Kitts was never located as a Jane Doe over the years & should resurface from that canal, or any other place for that matter one day, it would be good to have a relative’s DNA on file to match up with.

    We had a story somewhat like that here in MD a couple years ago, only it involved gangbangers, drugs & murder. Patrick Byers, (along with 7 others) was convicted in the death of Carl Lackyl, who was suppose to testify against Byers for a previous murder. People here were outraged over that one cuz the hit was set up from a cell phone someone smuggled to Byers while in prison awaiting trial for the first murder. (links below) Another unrepentant, repeat offender “poster child for DP”, if you ask me.

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2009-04-18/news/0904170144_1_byers-goodman-found-guilty

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bal-te.murder26p220090426062432,0,4494223.photo

    While it’s true I’ve posted some very unpopular comments to your previous stories regarding my opinions on the death penalty, I’m not trying to sway anyone’s opinion, call out right or wrong, or stir up trouble. I realize we’re all entitled to our own opinions & I’m not out to argue with anyone. I understand mistakes have been made within our justice system for a very long time & prisoners have been exonerated due to mistakes being brought to light, but we are now living in the 21st century where advancements are making those mistakes very few & far between anymore. My support of capital punishment is reserved for the most heinous offenders of society; the predators, sex offenders, murderers, rapists, violent & repeat offenders who have proven to be unrepentant & a danger to society. Just because you lock them away does not mean they no longer are a danger. Ask any prison guard or their loved ones who have been beaten & murdered by inmates.

    I don’t care who these inmates are, what their beefs are, what their earlier lives were like, how many ‘whoa is me’ excuses they come up with, how quickly they found God once convicted, what good they can be to their communities or youth of America if given a 2nd chance, blah, blah, blah. I DON’T CARE! And neither do many others who support capital punishment. Their victims did not get 2nd chances. You can’t undo a rape. You can’t bring back to life a murder victim. You can’t take away the pain, trauma & anguish of that murdered victim’s loved ones. Violent offenders make choices – and they have learned so much over time in a country that has passively sat by with apathetic agendas & allowed them to get away with it for so very long. No one seems to fear consequences anymore. People have lost respect for law & justice and it is truly sickening.

    THAT’S why I advocate for capital punishment – for justice – for the victims – and for everyone’s protection. We shouldn’t have to live in a world where we do background checks on people we date to see if they have a past criminal history of abusing women & getting away with it. We shouldn’t have to worry about leaving our children with someone who has done time for harming other children. We shouldn’t have to worry about doing our civic duty by sitting on juries, only to worry about a defendant on trial putting a hit out on us because we are doing the right thing. And we shouldn’t have to work for a living to pay taxes to keep those alive who do these evil things to the innocent. Victims & their loved ones, especially murder victims don’t get to “re-enter society”, they don’t get to have courts hear their pleas over & over again, visit with their loved ones, further their education, enjoy future relationships, etc….

    I saw your posting about your cousin ‘J’ and you’re right, attitudes like, “fry ’em all & let God sort it out’ is crazy, to say the least. But by the same token, so is wasting taxpaying money to try cases where defendants are convicted & sentenced to death, only to appeal them for decades on end. Or thrown out altogether due to “technicalities, civil liberties, due process, ineffective counsel, fruit of the poisonous tree evidence”, etc. We seem to have lost all sense of common sense & true justice in this country when we fight so hard for criminals, at the expense of the victims they leave behind in their dust. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why we choose to euthanize innocent animals in shelters every single day in this country due to overpopulation & lack of shelf space, yet, keep alive some of the most vile, despicable so-called human beings ever born into this world.

    And on those rare occasions when capital punishment is carried out, we have to worry about doing it oh so humanely. How humane was it to take someone’s life who so desperately wanted to live? Even begged in their final moments? Who was tortured beyond belief before their lives were cut short by someone else’s evil intent & actions? We think we are better people because we vote to execute someone & debate for years how to do it as painlessly as possible, when these same killers have viscously executed innocent people with absolutely no regard for their lives. Call me crazy, but there is something so ass-backwards with that logic, I can’t even see straight!

    For those who still want to argue me down, like Princess Shantae, A. Bart Ashmole, (or whatever his name is) religious believers, right to lifer’s, etc, about how we’re not here to judge, shouldn’t throw stones, etc, – In a word, I say BULL. I was born with a mind & I use it. I have opinions just like anyone else in this world & I’m not afraid to own up too, or stand up for them. I grew up with a cop for a father. I’ve seen & heard all the depraved shit people can do to one another. I watch the news. I live in one of the top 5 most dangerous cities in the country. I’ve made friends with families of the missing & murdered. I see the reality of the world we live in. I don’t live in a bubble or see the world through rose colored glasses. I also know we get one chance to go through this world & I know we are here for a reason. Maybe that reason is not the same for everyone & we are all entitled to figure that one out for ourselves as well, but I damn sure know we didn’t come into this world to rape, murder & violently hurt others while we’re here. And with all my heart & soul until the day I die, I believe when you chose to go that route, you need to pay back society with your life – end of story!

    If that is so wrong in the eyes of the religious right, the right to lifers, or those who chose not to support capital punishment as I do – then so be it – but don’t look down your noses at me for my beliefs – cuz I’m not the one out there taking, abusing, raping, & murdering. And I hope to God those non-believers, or God fearers never become victims themselves on the receiving end of such evil. But if you should, bear in mind, I would be there to champion your rights as well – because NO ONE deserves to be a victim!

    That is my belief & I’m sticking with it!

    Thank you once again for keeping up such an informative site, Meaghan. You sound like a very bright, compassionate person with a heart of gold & a passion for this type of work. Kudos to you for working so hard in bringing awareness to the missing & murdered in this world!

    Tracey in Maryland

  3. karen drew March 1, 2011 / 6:22 am

    he wasnt offered several plea deals by the DA

    The DA had no choice but to charge him with second degree murder because all other lesser charges the statute of limitations had run out on.

    But the law says if someone wants to sign off on their rights of statute of limitations they can and can change their not guilty plea to guilty of the crime for which the statute of limitations has run out on, IF the evidence shows it will fit that crime.

    So he and his lawyer came to the DA and the DA said sure if you want to sign off on your rights to a trial and your rights to an appeal and your rights to the court having to observe the statute of limitations thats your right to do so saves the state money and the family from having to go through a long trial. the DA told him which statute of limitations he had the right to sign off on – manslaughter in the first degree – which was the same one he could have signed off on in january and he refused in january but in feb after considering all the evidence and we were all ready to testify against him he decided he was better off doing what his lawyer told him he should do.

    He and his lawyer came up with the idea of changing his plea to guilty and signing off on his rights. the DA and us we just ran with is. he wants to get it over with and go to prison why not just saves all us the hassle of sitting in court testifying, saves the state money and hes behind bars for the next 8 years at the least and at a max 24, with no appeals. and all we had to do in the end was agree with him and let him sign away his law given rights.

    we can now get on with our lives and Give June her rightful resting place, with her family.

  4. karen drew March 1, 2011 / 6:35 am

    New York death penalty doesnt come with second degree murder ( the original charge that he was arrested and charged with.

    New Yorks death penalty is only on murder in the first degree.

    even if he had gone to trial it wouldnt have been an option because he wasnt being tried on murder in the first degree.

    plus the crime was done in 1980 so thats the standard he was going to be tried on – the laws from 1980.

    dont get me wrong I believe in the death penalty and a part of me would have loved that to happen to him.

  5. Tracey Reitterer March 3, 2011 / 2:34 am

    I may not like the legalities, Karen, but I do understand them. And I don’t care how it sounds, he committed murder – therefore, I’m glad his day of reckoning finally came and I hope he dies behind bars where he belongs. My sympathy & prayers to you and all the rest of June’s loved ones

  6. april tucker April 13, 2011 / 10:52 pm

    that woman that you all talk about is my aunt. she has a name and it is june hopkins collard. that monster took her from my family 30 years ago. what ever he got will never be enough. no one can bring her back.my mom which is her sister looked for her for years. we all knew that he did it. just ha dto prove it. i never got the chance to know her. he took that from me. i do wish that he could die the way my aunt had to. no one will ever no what she ha dto go through the last days of her life. we only can think about that. he will never tell all that he had done to her. but now we can lay her to rest with her mother and her sisters and father. she only has one sister still alive and that is my mother. she was not going to stop looking for her. but now that she is found she can R.I.P. and to the one that understand that he should have got the death penlty i myself want to thank you. thank you for all the prayers through out this whole thing. i love you aunt june. now rest .

  7. Tracey Reitterer April 14, 2011 / 12:01 pm

    April & Karen, you have my complete sympathy, condolences & prayers. If I could flick the switch on his ass myself, I would do it in a heartbeat, not only for taking your aunt’s life to begin with, but for keeping your family in agony over 30 yrs with his silence. NO ONE deserves to live that nightmare & when killers do that to families, ontop of the heartache they’ve already caused, I think they should get extra years tacked onto their sentences when convicted. If only we lived in a perfect world – but then again, if we did, your aunt would still be alive & no one would ever have to live through such pain. May peace be with your family, now that she’s been laid to rest & he is behind bars.

  8. april tucker April 14, 2011 / 7:49 pm

    i would like to think you tracy. my mothers gald that it is over. so am i for her sake. the prayers is what got us through this time. again thank you. but only if prayers could bring her back. but they cant. she no longer needs to haunt. she is now found. and she is resting. thank you april tucker.

  9. martha August 6, 2012 / 2:41 pm

    I am so surprised he didn’t get the death penalty.. I met Tom as we called him. He was dating my mother at the time he was arrested. I always told her there was something I didn’t like about him and something just didn’t sit well with me.

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