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Cassatt man charged with killing roommate

Posted: September 25, 2012 6:01 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2012 5:00 a.m.
Miciah Bennett/C-I

Kershaw County Sheriff's Office Investigator Dexter Handy stands near the sheriff's line at 1288 Dogwood Lane, Cassatt, after KCSO deputies found the dismembered and decapitated body of 30-year-old Larry Lee Thomas Jr.

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Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputies discovered a decapitated and dismembered body in a shed behind a home on Dogwood Lane in Cassatt early Monday morning.

According to information provided by the KCSO, the suspect, 46-year-old Raleigh Furman Jr., confessed to relatives that “he had done something bad, that he had killed a man and cut him up” after he checked himself into KershawHealth due to chest pains Sunday. Those relatives called Kershaw County dispatchers around 6 a.m. Monday morning and directed deputies to the shed. 

Furman told deputies that he killed Larry Lee Thomas Jr., 30, on Friday. Furman reportedly said he checked on Thomas’s body on his lunch break and bought the tools he used to dismember Thomas on his way home from work, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said.

Deputies found the victim’s body in four to five black trash bags near the entrance of the shed.

“You could smell it outside of the shed,” Matthews said. “One of my deputies said he’s never seen anything like this in Kershaw County.”

Furman, who according to his Facebook page is originally from New York, is said to have assaulted the victim with a pipe wrench after an argument concerning money before killing him. The victim was staying with Furman to help him pay bills, but had been supplying him with crack cocaine, instead of money, Matthews said.   

“The victim wasn’t living up to his side of the agreement,” he said.

Deputies arrested Furman after he was released from the hospital. Online Kershaw County Detention Center records showed him in custody as of Tuesday morning. Matthews said Furman would be charged with murder. Both the victim and Furman were “well-known” to officers, and Matthews said the KCSO receives many drug and domestic calls from the area.

“Normal, rational people do crazy things under the influence,” he said.

The KCSO contacted the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division for assistance at the crime scene.

According to the 5th Circuit Court’s online public index, Furman has only three speeding and one seat belt violation in Kershaw County. However, Matthews said that Furman has an extensive criminal record. He said those charges include: criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use; assault with intent to commit serious injury with a  weapon; assault, first degree; criminal trespass; possession of explosive or deadly weapon; robbery; murder, second degree; narcotics violations (sale and possession), and criminal mischief, all in New York.

Little else is known about Furman. A Facebook page for a “Raleigh Furman Jr.” out of Cassatt indicated he studied psychology and sociology at Canisius College, located in Buffalo, N.Y., and attended John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The C-I contacted both schools to determine if Furman ever attended. Canisius College had yet to respond to the inquiry by deadline Tuesday. Officials with Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids said they are unable to release information about former students without that person’s permission.

(This caption for the photograph of the Furman's residence has been updated to correctly identify the KCSO officer near the crime scene tape as Investigator Dexter Handy. Erroneous information provided to the C-I led to the misidentification.)



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