Local News

Man pleads guilty in slaying of Durham Sunday School teacher

Posted March 5, 2010

— The suspect in the slaying of a Durham Sunday School teacher took a plea deal Thursday that allowed him to escape a first-degree murder charge but ensured that he will spend time in prison.

Jameel Rasaun Thorton, 28, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed robbery in the Dec. 26, 2008, death of 41-year-old Trevor Spain.

Thorton was sentenced to between 27 and 34 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $25,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said that Spain's family agreed to the plea deal both in the spirit of mercy and to guarantee a conviction.

Spain's father found him face-down in a pool of blood in the basement of the family home, at 1301 Shepherd St., police said. An autopsy said that he had been stabbed multiple times in the chest, neck, cheek and arm.

Several items were taken, including two TVs, cash and a DVD player. Police have described Thorton as an acquaintance of Spain.

Spain had been an active member of Morehead Avenue Baptist Church since his childhood, according to Pastor Charles Barnes. He was the "hardest-working parishioner," Barnes said shortly after Spain's death. He was a trustee of the church, a choir member and active member of the men's fellowship.

Friends described Spain's passion for interior decorating and how he decorated his church for Christmas. He worked as a leasing manager of Carriage House Apartments, his family said.


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  • Anneleise Mar 5, 2010

    The court system is getting more stupid by the minute! Wonder who he'll kill when they let him out? What kind of "plea" will he get then? Why are law abiding citizens treated like we're expendable, and these low-life criminals given everything they want? This is sickening!!

  • wildcat Mar 5, 2010

    He should have gotten life in prison. Oh, well the law is always questionable.

  • Dark_Horse Mar 5, 2010

    ...So he (we) will pay $25k in restitution, and it will cost the state(us)approximately $23k a year to house him....Yeah, makes perfect sense.

  • makeadiff Mar 5, 2010

    What?...will spend time???....how much time and at what cost to us all? It was what it was murder plain and simple. You do the crime you should do the time or be executed accordingly. It is not up to the family to decide what the punishment should be. That is up to the law.

  • queene01 Mar 5, 2010

    queenmcneil and that's if they start you out at such a high rate! I mean considering waitstaff only get paid what 2.13$?

    Technically we will be paying that 25,000 back...IF he's in there that long.

  • Dark_Horse Mar 5, 2010

    ...So how did they know each other again?

  • queene01 Mar 5, 2010


    ".... And how is he going to pay 25,000 dollars? making 3 dollars a day in jail...."queene01 queene01: umm lets do the math here...if he'll be making $3/per day and theres 365 days in 1 year then $3*365=$1,095. & if his minimum sentence is 27 years then: $1,095*27 years= $29,565. So he'll be able to pay his $25,000.... THANKS TO NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY:PROUD ALUMINI"

    That's IF he stays in there 27 years...which he'll probably be out sooner.

  • ncguy Mar 5, 2010

    Wow, what a strong family to forgive this guy.

    I guess they really do practice what he preached!

    The family beleives that in the end justice will be served, while I don't agree, I respect their wishes

  • twoods7 Mar 5, 2010

    Now that Durham County quantified the value of a human life into time and money, gives new meaning into life is cheap...

  • colliedave Mar 5, 2010

    if he goes to central prison he won't be smiling for long...

    He will go to CP as that is where all inmates are sent for processing.