JBER Airman faces charges in slaying of fellow service member

by Chris McCann
JBER Public Affairs

6/22/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Airman 1st Class James Thomas of the 703d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was indicted June 15 on 11 charges including murder, evidence-tampering and obstruction of justice.

According to a Tuesday court filing in Anchorage, an autopsy found Senior Airman Clinton Reeves, formerly of the 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron, was killed with a blunt instrument.

Detectives found a hammer stained with human blood in Thomas' truck, and records of online searches about body disposal.

The new filing gives no information about how the Anchorage Police Department believes Reeves was killed, but it does contain details that show why detectives suspect Thomas in the case.

Reeves was last seen alive April 19, when he left work at the 673d LRS at the usual time.
When he failed to report for work April 23, supervisors became suspicious and reported him missing.

More than a week later, his rented vehicle was found abandoned in a neighborhood near JBER, and he was officially listed as missing.

On May 9, passersby in the neighboring town of Eagle River found Reeves' remains near a road.

Reeves had recently received an insurance payout of about $4,000 after his car was totaled, and he had been looking for a replacement vehicle.

Police have not said whether Reeves had the money on him when he disappeared or not, or whether it was a factor in the murder.

Thomas was arrested May 9 in connection with the murder and was initially charged with six counts of evidence tampering, after it was determined he was one of the last people to see Reeves alive.

His accounts of the evening of April 19 varied, according to investigators, although Reeves' cell phone showed he had been at Thomas' house that night.

Thomas' cell phone records showed searches for methods of disposing of remains. Thomas had also borrowed a cell phone from a friend between May 4 and 6, and phone records indicate Thomas had been on the same road three days before Reeves' body was found.

Investigators at the state crime lab are working to determine whether the blood on the hammer from Thomas' truck is a match to Reeves, according to a bail memorandum.