911 Tape Shows Evidence of a False Story in Lubbock Murder Case - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/1/06

911 Tape Shows Evidence of a False Story in Lubbock Murder Case

What started as a call for help, ends tonight with the caller in the Lubbock county jail accused of murder. The 9-1-1 call came just after 9 o'clock last night from the 3700 block of East 4th Street. John Otis Thornton told the operator he chased intruders out of the house after they stabbed his mother. He claimed he had tried to protect her. But hours later police arrested Thornton saying his story didn't add up.

NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel examines the 9-1-1 tape that police say helped Thornton turn into the suspect.

The 9-1-1 tape is eight and a half minutes long, and in that time, there are many discrepancies in Thornton's story; like how many suspects there were, and how they got away. But was Thornton just nervous, or was he really making up a story? We let you decide.

911: What's going on?
Thornton: There's an accident.
911: Like a car accident or what happened?
Thornton: There's been a murder.
911: I'm sorry, a murder? Who got murdered?
Thornton: Just come out here.

The call came in just past nine o'clock Sunday evening. The man on the phone is John Otis Thornton. At the time, police believed he was a victim calling in to 9-1-1, trying to get help for him and his mother. He told the operator men had broken into his home while they were asleep, and robbed and stabbed them both.

911: Okay, all right, how many of them were there? Sir, how many of them were there?
Thornton: Three.
911: There were three?
Thornton: Yeah.

But then the story changes. Thornton tells the operator he chased three men from inside his home, but 30 seconds later, this was the conversation.

911: Okay, are you okay? What's going on? Did you see anybody? Do you know how many there were?
Thornton: No, they came and took off. There were two.
911: Two of them?
Thornton: Yeah.

Another discrepancy came when the operator was trying to find out where the suspects ran when they left the house.

911: Okay, and they ran out the back door?
Thornton: Out the front door.

One minute later, this is what Thornton tells 9-1-1.

911: Did you follow the subjects outside?
Thornton: Yeah, I'm outside now, they ran into the back.
911: Okay, you're outside...
Thornton: They ran through the back yard.
911: They ran through the back yard?
Thornton: Yeah.

When police arrived, they found 57-year-old Glenda Thornton, stabbed multiple times.

911: Is your mother okay?
Thornton: They stabbed her.
911: They stabbed her too? Can you see her?
Thornton: No, I'm outside...
911: Okay, so you don't know where she's at?
Thornton: Uh, she's in her room.
911: Okay, can you still hear her screaming?
Thornton: No.
911: Okay, so you don't know if she's okay or not?
Thornton: No.

Glenda later died at University Medical Center. John Thornton told police on the scene that two Hispanic males broke into his house and stabbed his mother before he could chase them out. But just a few hours later, after looking at all the evidence, police arrested John Otis Thornton as a suspect in the murder of his mother.

Police tell us they still do not know the motive behind the death of Glenda Thornton. We'll keep you updated on any new details as they develop.

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