Tevin Biles-Thomas was acquitted of murder in June 2021 after a judge determined prosecutors did not present enough evidence to convict him of a triple murder New Years Eve in 2018. Thomas was set free just weeks before his sister, Simone Biles, took the world stage at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Biles-Thomas, 26, was in the U.S. Army infantry when he was arrested three years after joining the military and obtained the rank of specialist, according to The Washington Post. He had been deployed to Korea. Biles-Thomas was arrested at Fort Stewart, the base where he was stationed in Georgia at the time, the newspaper reported.
Biles-Thomas had been facing murder, voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault charges in the death of three men at a party in Ohio. The murders remain unsolved after a judge determined there was not enough evidence to hold Biles-Thomas responsible for the murders, which included testimony from people who said they identified the shooter based on clothing and did not see the face of the shooter, according to Cleveland.com. Those killed were Biles-Thomas’ cousin, Devaughn Gibson, 23, DelVaunte Johnson, 19, and Toshaun Banks, 21.
“Three people are dead, it’s horrible and it’s a tragedy,” Biles-Thomas’ attorney Joe Patituce told Cleveland.com after the acquittal. “We elect judges to make hard decisions, and she made a legally correct one.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Local News Reporters Detailed the Trial & the Lack of Evidence Against Biles-Thomas
Cleveland.com followed the murder case that went to trial twice. The first time, the case ended in a mistrial when jurors were mistakenly given legal briefs from prosecutors in May 2021, the local news outlet reported. Then, a judge determined that the evidence presented at trial was not enough to convict Biles-Thomas, Cleveland.com reported.
One of the witnesses testified at the first murder trial and did not show up for the second trial, Cleveland.com reported. There were two witnesses who testified among the two trials, and both said they had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana the night of the shooting, the article said. They both identified the shooter based on his clothing. However, attorneys noted that surveillance footage distorted the color of the clothing, and witnesses said several people were wearing similar clothes.
There was no forensic evidence linking Biles-Thomas to the murders, Cleveland.com reported.
2. Biles-Thomas Was Active Duty With the U.S. Army at the Time of His Arrest & Stationed in Georgia
At the time of Biles-Thomas’ arrest, he was active duty with the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia, according to The Washington Post.
An Army spokesman told the newspaper that he had joined the Army in 2014, and by the time of his arrest, he had received promotions and the rank of specialist. He was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division as a cannon crewmember, the newspaper said. He was deployed to Korea in 2018 as part of a rotational deployment, The Post reported. The spokesman added to the newspaper that the Army was cooperating with authorities.
Simone Biles wrote about missing her brother after he joined the military and wished him luck in 2014.
“talking to my brother really made me miss him. goodluck in the army tevin,” Simone Biles wrote on Twitter.
3. Simone Biles & Tevin Biles-Thomas Were Raised in Separate Households After Simone Was Adopted By Her Grandparents
Simone Biles and Tevin Biles-Thomas were raised in separate households, according to The Washington Post. They were two of four siblings born to a mother who struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol, the newspaper reported. Simone and her sister, Adria, were the two youngest siblings.
They were adopted by their grandfather and raised in Texas, the newspaper reported. The two oldest siblings, Tevin and Ashley, were adopted by their great aunt, who raised them in Cleveland, the article said.
Simone Biles was adopted when she was 6, according to PEOPLE. Their mother is Shannon Biles.
4. A Defense Attorney Accused Prosecutors of Pursuing the Case for Fame Because of Biles-Thomas’ Relationship to the Gymnast
Joe Patituce, Biles-Thomas’ attorney, accused Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley and his office for pursuing a case against his client because of Biles-Thomas’ famous sister, according to Cleveland.com.
“I would rather have an elected prosecutor interested in justice rather than press releases,” Patituce told the news outlet. “Preferably someone who’s actually tried a case before, himself.”
The news outlet noted the office did not send out a press release on the Biles-Thomas case.
5. Simone Biles Wrote on Twitter That Her Heart Was Broken After Her Brother’s Arrest
Simone Biles wrote a statement on Twitter expressing her sadness after the triple murder and after her brother was arrested in the case.
“Still having a hard time processing last week’s news,” she wrote September 2, 2019, shortly after her brother was arrested.
She went on to say that her heart was broken and expressed her condolences to the family of those who were killed. She also asked for privacy for her family.
My heart aches for everyone involved, especially for the victims and their families. There is nothing that I can say that will heal anyone’s pain, but I do want to express my sincere condolences to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. I ask everyone to please respect my family’s privacy as we deal with our pain. XO.
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