March 27, 2004
Andre Thomas (21, pictured) kills his estranged wife Lauren Boren (20), their 4-year-old son Andre “Andre Jr.” Boren, and Laura’s daughter by another man Leyha Hughes (13 months) then cuts out their hearts
Thomas had a history of mental illness, and had told friends when he was as young as 10 years old that he heard the voices of demons.
Two days before the killings, Thomas stabbed himself in the chest with a knife. He told an ER nurse he wanted to “cross over into heaven,” and while the nurse made a note of Thomas’ mental state, the hospital was not legally able to detain any patient who voluntarily sought their services, and Thomas was allowed to leave.
On March 27, Thomas broke the door of Laura’s home to gain entry. He had brought three knives with him to stab each victim separately, believing God would not want him to cross-contaminate their blood. Thomas then carved out the hearts of each victim, leaving “large, gaping wounds in their chests,” and put the organs in his pockets before returning home. Once there, Thomas put the hearts in a plastic bag and threw them away. He then turned himself in to police.
Thomas claimed he believed Laura was the Biblical Jezebel, his son was the anti-Christ, and the infant Leyha was somehow involved in a conspiracy with the other two. He also claimed he cut out the hearts of the victims to free them from demons.
Five days after his arrest while awaiting trial, Thomas gouged our his right eyeball, citing the Biblical verse Matthew 5:29 (“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out.”) In 2005, Thomas was convicted of Leyha’s murder and given the death penalty. In December of 2008, while on death row, Thomas plucked out his remaining eye and ate it.
Due to the obvious mental instability of Thomas, his lawyers have attempted to appeal his death sentence in favor of treatment in a mental health facility, though his appeals are still on-going at this time. As of February 2020, Thomas’ case is being examined in the Court of Appeals while he is housed in the psychiatric ward of the state prison.
Whiteley, Jerrie. “15 years later: Andre Thomas case back in court.” Herald Democrat. February 6, 2020. Accessed: March 27, 2020. https://www.heralddemocrat.com/news/20200206/15-years-later-andre-thomas-case-back-in-court
Graczyk, Michael. “Appeal court hearing for Texas inmate who ate his eye.” Valley Morning Star [Harlingen, Texas]. June 6, 2018
Hall, Michael. “Is Andre Thomas Too Crazy to Be Executed?” Texas Monthly. June 4, 2018. Accessed: March 27, 2019. https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/texas-murderer-andre-thomas-is-mentally-ill-but-is-he-insane/
Grissom, Brandi. “Andre Thomas: Gaps in the Mental Health Code.” The Texas Tribune. February 24, 2013. Accessed: March 27, 2019. https://www.texastribune.org/2013/02/24/andre-thomas-gaps-30-year-old-mental-health-code/
“Death row inmate pulls out eye, eats it.” Clarion-Ledger [Jackson, Mississippi]. January 10, 2009
“Suspect in 3 deaths stabs self, police say.” Austin American-Statesman. March 29, 2004