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TV show visits Pulaski

It wasn’t just a murder “it was an execution.”
That was Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis’ assessment of a 2000 murder that will be featured on an episode of TruTV’s “Forensic Files” later this year.
A camera crew and producer are in Pulaski County this week filming footage for the show, which airs locally on Comcast Cable channel 69 and is often broadcast in mini-marathon form at 11:30 p.m.
According to its website, Forensic Files is a fact-based show that profiles “intriguing crimes, accidents and outbreaks of disease from around the world” … that were “ultimately solved by forensic detection.”
Andrea Fleischer, a New York producer for the show, said she expects the local episode to be broadcast in about nine months.
The case being profiled is the 2000 murder of 16-year-old Radford High School student Tara Rose Munsey, whose body was found in a ravine beside railroad tracks in the Parrott section of the county 17 days after she left work at the Fairlawn Taco Bell and disappeared.
Jeffrey Allen Thomas is serving a life sentence without parole at Nottoway Correctional Center in the murder. He initially was sentenced to death, but entered into an agreement with prosecutors to serve life without parole after the state supreme court overturned his conviction saying he should have been granted a change of venue for trial.
Coincidentally, Monday marked the tenth anniversary of Munsey’s death.
Wednesday, Davis and other members of Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office met with the film crew where Munsey’s body was found.
A white cross bearing Christmas decorations marked the area just above the ravine where the young woman’s body was discovered. Davis said he isn’t sure who placed the cross there, but he figures it was family members. Munsey’s father, Bill, lives in Giles County. Her mother, Kitty Irwin, died from cancer several years ago.
During a filming break Wednesday, Davis stood at the site of the cross and described how Thomas killed the teen. “He put his foot on her chest (to hold her down), shot her once in the chest and then put three rounds in her head.”
It was the footprint Thomas left on her body, along with shell casings and a cigarette filter recovered from the scene that sealed Thomas’ fate and drew the attention of the forensics show.
Davis said authorities noticed while interviewing Thomas that he had a habit of lighting a cigarette and then breaking off the filter and discarding it. During the scene investigation, police found a filter that had been broken off and discarded.
Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor, who prosecuted Thomas, said forensic testing was able to link DNA on the cigarette filter to Thomas.
Even though a .22-caliber Marlin rifle used in the crime was never found, forensic tests also were able to link a shell casing found at the scene with shell casings found at Thomas’s home. Fleenor explained that Thomas had fired the rifle off a deck at home and the shell casings had been left behind. A slug taken from the victim’s body also was linked with the gun.
Finally, a partial shoe impression left on the victim, was able to be linked with a pair of tennis shoes Thomas owned.
As for his experience with the filming process, Davis said he had no idea what into creating a television show, noting the amount of time that goes into filming, only to end up with a 22-minute show.
He equated it to giving lengthy interviews with television news crews who then condense it into 14 seconds to air.

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TV show visits Pulaski

It wasn’t just a murder “it was an execution.”
That was Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis’ assessment of a 2000 murder that will be featured on an episode of TruTV’s “Forensic Files” later this year.
A camera crew and producer are in Pulaski County this week filming footage for the show, which airs locally on Comcast Cable channel 69 and is often broadcast in mini-marathon form at 11:30 p.m.
According to its website, Forensic Files is a fact-based show that profiles “intriguing crimes, accidents and outbreaks of disease from around the world” … that were “ultimately solved by forensic detection.”
Andrea Fleischer, a New York producer for the show, said she expects the local episode to be broadcast in about nine months.
The case being profiled is the 2000 murder of 16-year-old Radford High School student Tara Rose Munsey, whose body was found in a ravine beside railroad tracks in the Parrott section of the county 17 days after she left work at the Fairlawn Taco Bell and disappeared.
Jeffrey Allen Thomas is serving a life sentence without parole at Nottoway Correctional Center in the murder. He initially was sentenced to death, but entered into an agreement with prosecutors to serve life without parole after the state supreme court overturned his conviction saying he should have been granted a change of venue for trial.
Coincidentally, Monday marked the tenth anniversary of Munsey’s death.
Wednesday, Davis and other members of Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office met with the film crew where Munsey’s body was found.
A white cross bearing Christmas decorations marked the area just above the ravine where the young woman’s body was discovered. Davis said he isn’t sure who placed the cross there, but he figures it was family members. Munsey’s father, Bill, lives in Giles County. Her mother, Kitty Irwin, died from cancer several years ago.
During a filming break Wednesday, Davis stood at the site of the cross and described how Thomas killed the teen. “He put his foot on her chest (to hold her down), shot her once in the chest and then put three rounds in her head.”
It was the footprint Thomas left on her body, along with shell casings and a cigarette filter recovered from the scene that sealed Thomas’ fate and drew the attention of the forensics show.
Davis said authorities noticed while interviewing Thomas that he had a habit of lighting a cigarette and then breaking off the filter and discarding it. During the scene investigation, police found a filter that had been broken off and discarded.
Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor, who prosecuted Thomas, said forensic testing was able to link DNA on the cigarette filter to Thomas.
Even though a .22-caliber Marlin rifle used in the crime was never found, forensic tests also were able to link a shell casing found at the scene with shell casings found at Thomas’s home. Fleenor explained that Thomas had fired the rifle off a deck at home and the shell casings had been left behind. A slug taken from the victim’s body also was linked with the gun.
Finally, a partial shoe impression left on the victim, was able to be linked with a pair of tennis shoes Thomas owned.
As for his experience with the filming process, Davis said he had no idea what into creating a television show, noting the amount of time that goes into filming, only to end up with a 22-minute show.
He equated it to giving lengthy interviews with television news crews who then condense it into 14 seconds to air.

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