A television show featuring the 2000 Pulaski County murder of Tara Rose Munsey is expected to air early next year.
Phil Claroni, associate producer of the “Forensic Files” segment to be entitled “Filtered Out,” said the show is tentatively scheduled to air on TruTV Friday, Jan. 14 at 10 p.m., but that date and time could change. TruTV is channel 69 on Comcast Cable.
A production crew with the popular show came to Pulaski County in May to film segments for the episode.
Forensic Files is described on its Web site as a fact-based show that profiles “intriguing crimes, accidents and outbreaks of disease from around the world” … that were “ultimately solved by forensic detection.”
The case being profiled involved the 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 Virginia Supreme Court overturned his conviction saying he should have been granted a change of venue.
The crew, coincidentally, arrived to film the segment where Munsey’s body was located on the tenth anniversary of her death.
Standing beside a cross left at the site where the young woman’s body was found, Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis said in May that Thomas “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.
It’s the cigarette’s link to Thomas that provided the title for the show’s segment.
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. While investigating the scene of the crime, 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.