Thomas Darnell Wiki – Biography
Killing Of Laura Purchase Investigation
A suspected killer is executed for a sex murder in 1983, when his victim was set on fire by the police after DNA proved that a serial killer had wrongly confessed to the crime.
Thomas Darnell was detained at his home in Kansas last week, and was extradited Thursday to Montgomery County, Texas, where he was charged with major murder for the 1983 murder of Laura Marie Purchase.
Thomas Darnell Age
He Is 75 Year old
Thomas Darnell Arrested, Investigation
The killer faces execution for the 1983 sexual murder of a Texas woman whose naked body was found burning ’75, ‘after DNA proved the serial killer falsely confessed to the crime.
Fact You Need To Know
- 75-year-old Thomas Darnell is charged with death for the March 1983 murder of Laura Purchase, whose cremated body was found in Texas.
- Darnell was arrested by a genealogy test on a sample of DNA from an unknown male found on the victim.
- Just months after Purchase’s death, Henry Lee Lucas, who declared himself a serial killer, confessed to his murder and was convicted of the crime in 1986.
- In 2008, seven years after Lucas died in prison while serving his life
Darnell’s arrest came less than two years after investigators submitted DNA evidence for analysis, which they said matched Darnell from the scene.
Self-proclaimed serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to murdering the Purchase just months after his death, and was convicted of murder three years later, but DNA testing was not considered a suspect in 2008.
Around 3 am on March 17, 1983, a deputy was patrolling the IH-45’s 4000 block near League Line Road when he noticed a burning fire in a wooded area, according to a statement from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
The MP approached the area and burned the lifeless, naked body of a woman.
The autopsy later determined that the unidentified victim had been sexually assaulted and strangled. Post-mortem inspection also identified traces of a man’s DNA on the corpse.
The FBI analyzed the victim’s fingerprints in the database, identifying her as Laura Purchase, a missing Houston woman.
Police said it was known that Purchase was last known to have lived with a man named “Howard” or “Howie” who played in a band called Malibu in Houston on March 5, 1983.
Just months after Purchase was found dead and long before he was identified, Lucas confessed to killing him and was convicted of murder in 1986.
Lucas was convicted of murdering 11 people between 1960 and 1983 and sentenced to death for killing Debra Jackson, although his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1998. She died of heart failure after confessing in 2001. about 600 murders.
An investigation by the Texas Attorney General later concluded that Lucas was a pathological liar who mistakenly confessed to crimes he did not commit.
It was confirmed that he still killed at least three people – making him a serial killer – along with eight other possible victims discussed by investigators.
In 2007, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Team re-presented the DNA of the unknown male found in Purchase’s body in 1983. Despite Lucas’ confession and conviction, both he and the defendant were eliminated as suspects in this case. In October 2019, researchers sent DNA evidence for genealogy testing that produced a clue that marks Darnell as a murder suspect.
On March 17, exactly 38 years after Purchase’s murder, detectives issued a DNA warrant and took a sample from Darnell.
On April 30, Darnell’s DNA sample positively matched the DNA profile of the unknown male collected from Purchase and resulted in his arrest.
Darnell is being held in Montgomery County prison without a bond.