Murder suspect has cancer
The man charged in the 1994 rape and murder of Palisade resident Jacie Taylor, who’s already serving a life prison sentence for the murder of a Fort Collins woman, has been diagnosed with cancer, attorneys revealed Monday in court.
Greg Greer, one of two attorneys representing 41-year-old Douglas Thames, said doctors have urged Mesa County authorities to return Thames to the custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections, where he can start chemotherapy and other treatments.
“This is a critical medical situation,” Greer told District Judge Richard Gurley.
Greer filed an emergency motion seeking to delay a scheduled motions hearing on Monday in Thames’ case. The request was granted by Gurley.
Attorneys on Monday didn’t reveal more detail about Thames’ medical condition, while the judge ordered records concerning the situation to be sealed.
Thames is charged with first-degree sexual assault, first-degree murder and felony murder in the June 1994 slaying of Taylor. The 19-year-old was found partially clothed in the bathtub of her Palisade apartment. Robert Dewey, 52, was convicted by a Mesa County jury and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but exonerated in the face of new DNA evidence and released from prison in April 2012. Gurley in August ordered Dewey to be paid $1.2 million in compensation — the first Colorado resident to receive such a payout.
Prosecutors have said DNA evidence in Taylor’s murder implicates Thames, while ruling out 99.9 percent of all Caucasians except Thames.
Thames was arrested in Mesa County in 1995 and convicted at trial for the 1989 murder of Fort Collins businesswoman Susan Doll, who was strangled in her home. Thames was 16 at the time and lived roughly a mile away, according to court records.
Records in the Taylor case say Thames was never contacted by law enforcement during the initial investigation into Taylor’s death despite the fact that he lived just a few hundred feet from her Palisade apartment. Thames has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in February.
Mesa County prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.