St. Louis, MO – The career criminal accused of murdering St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Tamarris Bohannon and shooting a second officer in the leg claimed during his court hearing on Wednesday morning that he had no idea why he was there.
Thomas Kinworthy, 43, was arrested on Aug. 30 after a nearly 12-hour armed standoff with police.
The convicted felon was wanted in Florida when he fatally shot Officer Bohannon in the head and wounded a second officer as they responded to a report of an armed robbery at a home Kinworthy had allegedly broken into, KSDK reported at the time.
Kinworthy was subsequently indicted on charges of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, four counts of armed criminal action, and burglary, according to KSDK.
During his court appearance on Wednesday, Kinworthy’s public defender told the judge her client was pleading not guilty.
She also waived formal arraignment, which would have allowed the judge to specifically read to Kinworthy the charges filed against him.
At one point during the hearing, the judge asked the accused cop-killer if he understood he had been indicted, KSDK reported.
“What am I being charged with?” Kinworthy responded. “I don’t even know what I’m being charged with.”
The judge explained that Kinworthy’s attorney had already entered not guilty pleas on his behalf and waived the arraignment, and that the judge was bound to follow what the attorney says, according to KSDK.
He told the suspect to discuss any concerns with his lawyer after the hearing.
Kinworthy shook his head in disgust as a bailiff led him out of the hearing, KSDK reported.
His trial is slated to begin on Dec. 10.
The events that led up to the murder of 29-year-old Officer Bohannon began at approximately 5:45 p.m. on Aug. 29, when the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) received a report of a shooting at a residence in the 3700-block of Hartford Street, KSDK reported.
Sources told the news outlet that a male suspect at the home positioned himself on an upper level of the residence and opened fire on the officers when they arrived to help the person who had allegedly been shot, according to KSDK.
Officer Bohannon was shot in the head during the attack, police said.
The second officer was hit in the leg.
Both officers were rushed to St. Louis University Hospital, where Officer Bohannon was taken into surgery, KSDK reported.
Meanwhile, police swarmed the Tower Grove South neighborhood, closing off streets and warning residents to stay inside their homes, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Investigators learned that the alleged gunman was a homeless man who had forced his way into the home of Steve and Mimi Haag and ordered them out of the house at gunpoint, KSDK reported.
The couple said they believe they were saved by their “guardian angels,” according to the news outlet.
“He could have very easily just shot the both of us and he didn’t,” Steve Haag said. “I just thank God for protection.”
Officers negotiated with the barricaded gunman for hours before he was taken into custody sometime before 5:30 a.m. the next morning.
Sources said Kinworthy, 43, is wanted for attempted sexual battery and kidnapping out of Florida, and that he also has a history of drug offenses in the St. Louis area, KSDK reported.
He served approximately two years in prison for one of his prior drug charges, according to the news outlet.
Kinworthy opened fire on a stranger during a road rage incident in 1998, and blew of three of the victim’s fingers, according to the Riverfront Times.
The 30-year-old officer who was shot in the leg was treated at the hospital and released to recover at home, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Officer Bohannon left behind his wife, Alexis, and their three children, all of whom are under the age of 10, KSDK reported.
He served the department for over three years.