I do not have a lot of information on this murder, though there is a book on it by the same name. (out of print) I will attempt to give you as much info as I have. In 1988 this case was so big that it had to be moved from the city in which the crime took place. Bonney plead innocent by reason of insanity. During the trial, the jurors watched a videotape in which Bonney described the killing of his teenage daughter in a rage. On the tape, Thomas Lee Bonney`s voice took on a snarl as he was interviewed under hypnosis by a psychiatrist. "You're just a mortal," Bonney growled, eyebrows sharply arched, long fingernails clicking on the tabletop. ``You don’t know nothing." All in all, the juror saw about 10 of his personalities. Many people in the town refused to watch news coverage or read the papers about this trial because they were so afraid of hearing all the talk of his different personalities. In November 1988 he was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to die. His lawyers tried to get a retrial but were denied. Then in June 1991, Bonney's death sentenced was thrown out In 1994 Bonney and another inmate escaped from prison through a trash container. Since this was in Bonney's line of work he was able to easily escape due to a break down in the security system.
The defendant, Thomas Lee Bonney, was tried upon a proper bill of indictment charging him with the murder of his daughter, Kathy Bonney. The jury found the defendant guilty of first-degree murder on the theory of premeditation and deliberation. At the conclusion of [***8] a sentencing proceeding under N.C.G.S. § 15A-2000, the jury recommended and the trial court entered a sentence of death. On appeal, the defendant brings forward numerous assignments of error. We conclude that the defendant's trial and conviction were free from prejudical error. We further conclude, however, that prejudicial error during the sentencing proceeding in this case requires that the sentence of death be vacated and that this case be remanded to the Superior Court, Camden County, for a new capital sentencing proceeding. The State's evidence at trial tended to show that around 7:00 p.m. on 21 November 1987, the defendant's daughter, Kathy Bonney, returned home from the grocery store with her mother, Dorothy Bonney, and her sister, Susan Bonney. When they entered the home, the defendant was talking on the telephone to a man named John. The defendant told Dorothy and Susan that he was going to take Kathy with him to look at a truck which was for sale.
After the defendant and Kathy left, Susan snuck out of the house and walked to a nearby 7-Eleven store where she observed them sitting in the car. The defendant and Kathy left together in the car soon thereafter. Approximately [***9] two hours later, the [*66] defendant returned home and inquired as to Kathy's whereabouts, but no one in the family had seen her.
Later that night, Susan went outside and looked into the car where she observed blood on the seat. Susan told her mother about the blood and assumed that the defendant must have picked up a dead animal, but she never mentioned the blood to the defendant. Susan also returned to the 7-Eleven store that evening to look for Kathy. The defendant did not go out looking for Kathy that night.
On Sunday morning, 22 November 1987, the defendant went to the Chesapeake (Virginia) Police Department to report that his daughter, Kathy, was missing. The defendant said that on the previous evening he had gone to the 7-Eleven store with Kathy to meet a man who wanted to sell a Blazer. He added that Kathy knew the man and called him "John." The defendant said that the last time he saw his daughter was [**148] when she got into the Blazer with "John" at approximately 9:00 p.m. on 21 November 1987. The defendant stated that his daughter had stayed out all night once before. Officer Jeffrey Hardison noted that the defendant appeared nervous. Officer Hardison told the defendant [***10] that the police would wait twenty-four hours before filing a missing person report, due to Kathy's age. On 22 November 1987, Wesley Lindquist drove his truck from Chesapeake, Virginia to the outskirts of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. After he turned around and headed back toward Virginia on Highway 17, Lindquist stopped near the Virginia-North Carolina state line along the Dismal Swamp Canal and stayed there a few hours. While walking along the canal, he looked down into a brushfilled and rocky embankment with very steep sides and saw the nude body of a female, later identified as that of Kathy Bonney. Lindquist then got in his truck and drove up the highway to call the police. It was around 3:00 p.m. when he called the police, and officers arrived in approximately fifteen minutes.
Sergeant Edward Lewis, a member of the Chesapeake Police Department dive-team, was called to the scene and arrived around 7:00 p.m. At the scene, he performed an evidence search. He described the body as appearing as though it had been dumped down the bank. He observed numerous wounds to the body including scratch marks. Also, there were small trees around the body and the limbs had bullet holes [***11] in them. Fibers from the small trees were observed in the victim's hair. There was also a bloody footprint or palm [*67] print in the middle of the victim's chest. There were facial wounds to the victim's body, including a missing front tooth. A green sweater and a bloody undergarment or "teddy" with a ripped bottom were recovered from the water near the body. Also, there were marks on the wrists of the body similar to those left by handcuffs. No gun, shell casings or handcuffs were found in the area where the body was discovered. Officer Lewis opined that the body must have been dumped because no one could have carried it down the bank. No blood was found on the ground, although there was a moderate amount of blood on the victim's body.
At 6:42 p.m. on 22 November 1987, the defendant telephoned Vanessa Rogers, a dispatcher for the Chesapeake Police Department, and asked for Officer Hardison. The defendant said that he had discussed the filing of a missing person report with Hardison at an earlier time and that his daughter was still missing. Officer Anthony Perkins went to the defendant's home where he met with the defendant and took a missing person's report. The defendant [***12] stated that he had last seen Kathy at the 7-Eleven store where he took her to look at a truck. He said a man named John took Kathy for a test drive. While at the defendant's residence, Officer Perkins received a call and, as a result, took Kathy's driver's license to the crime scene. At the crime scene, despite the aid of Kathy's driver's license, Detective Martin Williams was unable to make a positive identification of the victim. Later that evening, Detective Williams telephoned the defendant to ask if he could come to the defendant's home and get a photograph of Kathy. The defendant responded that it was too late, and the officer would have to wait until the next day.
On Monday, 23 November 1987, Detective Williams spoke with the defendant at his place of business. At that time, the defendant told the officer that Kathy had been dating John Hoskins, one of the defendant's former employees. The defendant had fired Hoskins about ten days earlier. The defendant then reported that he had been looking through Kathy's room and had found a letter in her diary. The letter was shocking to the defendant, and he described it as vulgar. In the letter, Kathy wrote of an affair with [***13] a married man and of a previous sexual relationship. The defendant appeared bothered when the officer kept the letter. The defendant repeated his version of what had happened at the 7-Eleven store on the [*68] night Kathy disappeared. Later that evening, Detective Williams and other officers returned to the [**149] Bonney residence to dust Kathy's room for fingerprints. Agent Malcolm McLeod of the SBI went with the defendant on 24 November 1987 looking for the Blazer. The defendant told McLeod that he and Kathy had driven a wrecker to the 7-Eleven store. The defendant also stated that he suspected his daughter had been having an affair with Hoskins. The defendant further stated that he had found a letter Kathy had written to John Hoskins and had given the letter to Detective Williams. During a search of Kathy's room on 24 November 1987, officers found some adult magazines and a pair of handcuffs in her closet.
On Wednesday, 25 November 1987, the body of the victim was identified as that of Kathy Bonney by matching the fingerprints of the body with those lifted from her room. When the defendant was told of this, he became extremely upset, began yelling and fell on the floor. As [***14] a result, paramedics were called to assist the defendant.
On Friday, 27 November 1987, Detective Robert Castelow of the Chesapeake Police Department spoke with the defendant. The defendant gave a description of the man named John for purposes of the preparation of a composite drawing. During the same evening, Detective Williams talked to the defendant about the incident with the Blazer. On this occasion, however, the defendant stated that he was driving his Chevrolet, not his wrecker, when he and Kathy went to the 7-Eleven store. The defendant also reported that his .22 caliber sawed-off rifle which had been stolen from his wrecker about the time John Hoskins had been fired. On Monday, 30 November 1987, the defendant told Williams that he had sold his Chevrolet a few days earlier to a black man who worked at a junkyard. As a result, Williams began looking for the car.
Detective Williams next met with the defendant on Thursday, 3 December 1987, when the defendant came to the police station to view some photographs. Again, the defendant said he drove the Chevrolet to the 7-Eleven store and not the wrecker.
The defendant was interviewed again on Friday, 4 December 1987. The defendant [***15] was asked by Detective Williams if he owned a nine-shot .22 revolver. The defendant said he used to have one, [*69] but he had sold it to a black man whose name he could not recall. The defendant then was asked if he had killed Kathy. The defendant denied the act and kept repeating that the officers were wrong. Also, he maintained that the photographs of the body at the crime scene were not photographs of his daughter.
On 10 December 1987, the defendant called Detective Williams and told him that he had found the Chevrolet at London Bridge Motors in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Later, the police arrived and seized the car. On 1 February 1988, Detective Williams and SBI Agent Kevin McGinnis went to Indianapolis, Indiana, where the defendant had been arrested. Agent McGinnis interviewed the defendant after reading him his Miranda rights. During this conversation, the defendant said he had not been running. The defendant said he had left Chesapeake on 11 December 1987 and had been in several states. He said that on Friday, 20 November 1987, he had found copies of the letters Kathy had written to John Hoskins. On Saturday, 21 November 1987, he confronted her with this information [***16] while they were in the Chevrolet parked on the side of Highway 17. The defendant claimed that Kathy lunged for his gun, and it just went off. When asked if he had in fact shot Kathy, the defendant said he shot her while they were parked in the car. The defendant said that he had left her body along Highway 17 and then had driven home. The defendant further stated that "something snapped in his head" after he shot Kathy.
On 2 February 1988, Detective Williams and Agent McGinnis returned to the jail to take the defendant to North Carolina. While at the airport, the defendant repeated that he and Kathy had argued about the letters. The defendant stated that at the time he had his pistol under his coat on the front seat. He again claimed that Kathy had lunged for the pistol. Although he [**150] did not remember reloading or how many shots he fired, the defendant stated that he had continued to shoot Kathy. He thought she had screamed when she was first shot. The defendant said that he did not shoot Kathy and then drive to the scene, but that everything had taken place there. He also admitted that he had removed Kathy's clothes. He had carried the gun and extra bullets with him that [***17] night. The defendant stated that he had thrown his gun over a bridge and into the river at Battlefield Boulevard. He put the spent shell casings in the gas tank of the wrecker.