Emmett church fire defendant bound over

June 25, 2014 

The second of two defendants accused of setting fire to two Emmett churches in April 2013 waived a preliminary hearing and was bound over Tuesday to Fourth District Gem County Court.

Bradley Ryan Thomasson is scheduled to return to court on July 14 for arraignment.

He is charged with two counts each of first-degree arson, burglary and single counts of grand theft and petit theft.

The charges match those originally filed against Thomasson in May 2013, a month after two Emmett churches were broken into and torched.

The original counts against Thomasson were dismissed without prejudice by Gem County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Linville in January. That allowed Linville to focus on the case against Thomasson's co-defendant Charles Dorahush Jr., 45.

Dorahush pleaded guilty in September to two counts of first-degree arson. The burglary and theft charges, equal to those filed against Thomasson, were dismissed in exchange for his guilty pleas.

Dorahush was sentenced in December to 25 years in prison with a minimum of five years to serve before he is eligible for parole. He is serving his sentence at the Idaho State Correctional Institution in Kuna.

When he was arrested, Thomasson was held on a parole violation. He was released from prison in 2012 after serving 22 years of a 20-years-to-life sentence for the 1989 murder of his adoptive parents.

The two men were accused of breaking in and setting fire on April 27, 2013, to the First Baptist Church and the Community Bible Church, located within three blocks of one another off downtown Emmett.

The FBI was called in to assist Emmett police in investigating the arsons in case they had been set as a hate crime. It was later determined the two suspects hoped to find cash and other valuables inside the churches.

The Baptist church, which has an Italianate design and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1915. It was designed by the prominent Boise firm of Nisbet & Paradice, which designed the Empire Building in downtown Boise and the Basque boarding house, the Anduiza Hotel.

First Baptist Church held its first service in the repaired sanctuary last month. Community Bible Church began using its building again earlier this year.

Thomasson was a 17-year-old high school senior when he shot Judith Ann Thomasson, 50, and Ray E. Thomasson, 57, at their Lewiston home on Sept. 22, 1989. He told police the shooting took place following an argument about his use of the family car.

Thomasson claimed his father began hitting him and he picked up a .22-caliber rifle and pointed it at Ray Thomasson. He fired after his father told Thomasson he didn't think he had the guts to pull the trigger, Thomasson told police, according to news reports at the time.

Police doubted Thomasson's story. Blood stains showed that both parents were shot in their bed, not where he said the shootings took place.

Thomasson called police to report the murders, saying he found his parents' bodies after he saw an intruder leaving the house. He changed his story later that day.

A jury of 12 women brought to North Idaho from Ada County deliberated for about two hours in 1990 before finding Thomasson guilty of the murders.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service