Local News

Suspect in Durham man's slaying apprehended

Posted January 16, 2009
Updated January 18, 2009

— A 28-year-old Durham man wanted in last month's slaying of a Sunday school teacher was arrested Friday near Hickory, police said.

Jameel Rasaun Thornton, of Liberty Street, is charged with murder in the Dec. 26 death of Trevor Spain. Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Thornton in Newton.

Thornton was denied bond for the murder charges and was being held in the Durham County Jail. He was granted a $15,000 bond for larceny and probation charges. His first court appearance was set for Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Spain, 41, was found face-down in a pool of blood in the basement of his family home, at 1301 Shepherd St. Family members said there was no sign of forced entry, but several items were taken, including two TVs, cash and a DVD player.

He and Thornton were acquaintances, police said.

Police haven't released information on how Spain died or a why they think he was killed. Family members said Spain was stabbed to death.

Thornton was placed on probation in September after receiving a suspended sentence on charges of drug possession, driving with a revoked license and wanton injury to real property, according to court records.

Durham probation officials said he never reported to them. They checked his listed addresses, job records and hospital records and talked to relatives in trying to find him, said Tony Taylor, an assistant manager of the Durham probation office.

Thornton was convicted of second-degree burglary in 1998 and of possession of drug paraphernalia in 2002, according to state Department of Correction records. He received probation for both convictions, but served six months for violating his probation for burglary.


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  • Susan08 Jan 16, 2009

    I'm a probation officer and am getting sick of people trying to blame the probation system. (By the way, probation is not spelled with an h in it). Until you walk in my shoes or attempt to learn more about the job (and criminal justice system in general), don't make judgments. For those of you who think that probation should go away would be the same ones who would complain when the 113,000 offenders on probation were walking your streets without supervision because, I promise you, they will not be in jail where there is not enough room for them.

  • anne53ozzy Jan 16, 2009

    We have the technology to do almost anything, it seems, except raise children that will not commit these terrible acts. You can blame any system in the world for horrific actions by people. You cannot excuse the role of the parents in these actions.

  • knbwz Jan 16, 2009


    you can't be serious, its more white people on prohbation than black because you all are the majority, do your research before making un-educated statements..but yes the prohbation system is in need of a major face lift!

  • MizzZeta Jan 16, 2009

    I wonder if this is a domestic violence case...

  • turdferguson Jan 16, 2009

    Not so funny meow, is it?

  • jon2four Jan 16, 2009

    The prohbation system there is so flawed and ineffective that violent criminals need to be kept locked up until the system is fixed. Will the leaders there do that? Are you kidding me? Durham is almost as corrupt as Chicago and both have a high population of blacks. Coincidence? Face the facts.

    It's really sad to see how cluelsee some people are. The probation system is managed and stafed by the Department of Corrections a state agency. The city or county leaders of Durham ,Raleigh, Or Lizzard Lick has nothing to do with how it's ran. These are state employees. Now we can see how erronious information gets into the public domain.People who don't know what they're talking about telling others who don't know any better. Here we have a person who don't know anything about Durham or Chicago trying to make us think he's an expert.

  • Dark_Horse Jan 16, 2009

    "Sounds alot like a drug deal gone bad."
    Hmmm... I wonder what part of this makes you think that? Could it be the fact that the victim was a sunday school teacher? Or because he was killed in his own home? Nah, maybe because he didnt have a criminal record and was considered a model citizen? Or maybe because he's not known to have been a dealer or user of illegal substances? Yeah, those things just SCREAM drug deal. Im sure the fact that this was a violent crime involving two black men in Durham had NOTHING to do with your deliberation....

  • x Jan 16, 2009

    According to the story, this guy never reported into probation on those previous convictions so he was probably not even in their "system". If a probation officer was not assigned to him, I wonder if he was even flagged as "in violation" of his parole? So, he's locked up now. I hope we can keep him there.

  • srvtofGod Jan 16, 2009

    Probation is now a money maker for the state. When you're on probation you ahve to pay monthly fees. Now we now a good number of those on probation are not working, so what do they do to get money to pay for being on probation, they sell drugs and rob people. The gov. does not want to do away with crime...it's a business for them

  • DougWare.NET Jan 16, 2009


    I was thinking the exact same thing. I wonder if he will be smiling when he picks up the soap in prison?