AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) — Lee County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for three defendants accused in the 2020 kidnapping and murder of Auburn teenager Thomas Green.
The announcement comes as Green’s family continues finding comfort in a display of gentle kindness by the landowners where Green’s body was discovered.
The 18-year-old Auburn man vanished on September 5, 2020, sparking a community-wide search as the Green family pleaded for his safe return. Auburn Police released a video of Green attempting to enter a convenience store located in the 800 block of Martin Luther King Drive and then departing after realizing it was closed. Green’s body was discovered five days later on September 10th in a wooded area off of Lee Road 188 in western Lee County. He had been shot.
Damian Williams, 31; Taharra Brunson, 43; and Marcus Wigley, 37, of Auburn were arrested and charged with capital murder in the kidnapping and deadly shooting. Auburn investigators allege two witnesses gave statements to police saying Brunson was driving the vehicle when they saw Wigley and Williams struggling with Green before forcing him into a vehicle. Green was never seen alive again. The motive for the teen’s murder hasn’t been released to the public.
“The family of Thomas Green would like to thank everyone who has stayed consistent with their love, support, and most importantly prayer. We ask you continue to keep our family in prayer as we prepare for this long road ahead. This is just the beginning. Justice, he will have.”
Green’s family often visits the area where Green was located. They would park on the side of Lee Road 188 and pray. During one visit they noticed a cross had been placed in the woods where Green’s body had laid. At night, the cross would light up. The family who owns the land had created a memorial for Thomas and invited the family to visit whenever they wished.
“They keep the area clean and they leave the gate open at certain times of the month and day. They know around what time mama usually goes so they’ll leave the gate open for her to go back, but if it’s not open all we have to do is call and they will come down and open it for us. They never rush us. They give us all the time we need. They even put flowers and balloons out there on their own for Thomas and even left a Mother’s Day gift for her last year,” said Tometha Barris, Green’s sister.
This act of kindness has provided great comfort for Green’s family. The land where an unspeakable act of evil allegedly ended has been transformed into a peaceful spot where Green’s family finds space to grieve their loss.
The three defendants remain at the Lee County Detention Facility on no bond. A trial date has not been set, but prosecutors have filed motions to try all three defendants together.