Hammond man gets 40 years in woman’s strangling death
By ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent April 24, 2014 4:04PM
Updated: May 26, 2014 6:36AM
Lake Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray sentenced a Hammond man to 40 years for voluntary manslaughter in the strangulation death of a Hammond mother.
“I have no explanation for my actions,” Lumaz Thompson said Thursday at his sentencing hearing. “My behavior makes me sick to my stomach. I never thought I could be capable of such an act.”
Thompson, 25, admitted he strangled Denise Collier with a piece of cloth that was tied behind her neck. He choked her so hard that he lifted her off her toes. Collier’s decomposing body, with the ligature still wrapped around her neck, was found in her apartment on June 7, 2011, in the 6100 block of Harrison Avenue in Hammond. Thompson pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the charge. He faced a minimum 25-year sentence under terms of his plea agreement.
Collier, 54, was a hard-working, independent woman who instilled good morals and values in her two children, her daughter, Twana Grayson, said.
“I am just so broken-hearted and empty inside,” she said, noting Collier will miss her oldest son’s graduation this spring and wasn’t present for Grayson’s wedding or the birth of her youngest child.
Maurice Collier Jr. said his life is forever changed since his mother’s death.
“She was my everything,” he said.
Defense attorney Jamise Perkins presented testimony from Thompson’s biological father, Martin Foster, and sister, Nancy Thompson, who spoke of Thompson and his siblings being removed from the family home after an infant brother died under suspicious circumstances. Nancy Thompson said because her brother was the oldest, “he understood more. He took it hardest of all of us.”
The children were shuffled among various foster homes and were subjected to neglect and abuse, Nancy Thompson said. It was seven years before the children would be returned to their mother, who died after the murder case in Collier’s death was filed.
Trial supervisor Robert Persin argued for a sentence near the maximum 50-year mark in light of the heinous nature of the crime, which he said showed extreme rage and brutality.
Perkins presented medical records showing that Thompson had been hospitalized three times by age 10 for mental problems.
Before she became a defense attorney, Perkins prosecuted Thompson’s brother, Reo, for the 2009 murders of Milton McClendon, 78, and his wife, Ruby, 76, of Hammond. Reo Thompson, who turns 22 on Saturday, is serving a 120-year prison sentence.