Four black teens charged with capital murder of WWII veteran who died after mugging
Lawrence E. 'Shine' Thornton, who was known for running his home business Maria's Famous Hot Tamales, was violently attacked on his driveway on Oct. 18. The four thieves, who were black, took his wallet, along with his life, and are being held on bail for as much as $3 million.
By Nina Golgowski / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, October 27, 2013, 11:35 AM
Delta Hot Tamale Festival via Facebook
Lawrence E. ‘Shine’ Thornton, a beloved World War II veteran and pillar
of his local community, was killed in a mugging by four teens just
after recognized as king of the second annual Delta Hot Tamale Festival.
The teens, ages of 18 and 19, were all charged with capital murder after Lawrence E. "Shine" Thornton, a beloved member of his Greenville community, was fatally attacked on Oct. 18.
Greenville police tell the Delta Democrat Times that the teens, all from Greenville, "pushed him down and stole his wallet" around 5:30 p.m.
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The WWII widower was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson where he later died.
Terrance Morgan, 19, Edward Johnson, 19, Geblonski Murray, 18, and Leslie Litt, 18, were arrested Monday and charged with capital murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit a robbery after Thornton's community launched a reward for the arrest of the culprits responsible for his attack.
Morgan was the sole teen denied bond by a municipal judge Wednesday, the Times reports. Johnson and Geblonski had bond set at $3 million, while bond for Litt was set at $2.5 million.
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In an article with the Southern Foodways Alliance, Thornton was remembered as not only a skilled hot tamale entrepreneur, but also the owner of a liquor store who ran the shop while working 37 years for the Delta Electric Co.
Prior to this, he served two years as a fireman first class aboard minesweeper the USS Herald, according to his obituary.
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After losing his job with the electric company in 1984, the Shaw native focused on his a liquor store he had kept on the side to support his family.
That same year he also started to work in the hot tamale business, where he would craft his moneymaking recipe.
That recipe soon blossomed into Maria's Famous Hot Tamales, which was named after his Sicilian wife, Mary, and was housed in a backyard kitchen.
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The Delta Hot Tamale Festival, which celebrated its second anniversary Oct. 17-19, memorialized its late king on its Facebook page with a photo of him seated proudly at his throne.
"Our love and prayers go out to your family. And you will forever be our King Shine," it said.
At least a dozen commenters mourning his loss chimed similar sentiment.
"Our Prayers go out to his Sons and his beloved Grandchildren. A Fine Southern Gentleman. So Sad," wrote Facebook user Ruth Perkins.
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