Charges dropped against suspect in double murder; attorneys say LMPD investigators misinterpreted DNA results

Thomas Lanham’s $500,000 bond was largest in recent memory in Jefferson County

Charges dropped against suspect in double murder; attorneys say LMPD investigators misinterpreted DNA results

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – A Louisville man recently arrested in a 2017 double homicide is again a free man.

All charges against Thomas Lanham were dropped Thursday after attorneys said investigators misinterpreted DNA results.

“Mistakes happen,” defense attorney Brian Butler said. “The wonderful thing about what happened here was that this particular prosecutor and this Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office addressed it immediately and did the right thing.”

DNA evidence from blood discovered in the back seat of Lanham’s car allegedly linked him to the 2017 murders of Austin Gamez and Teressa McCoy.

But a closer examination by defense attorneys revealed investigators got it wrong, and the prosecutor agreed.

"The charges against Lanham were dismissed,” Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney spokesman Jeff Cooke said, “because DNA test results showed blood found in Lanham's car, thought to tie him to one of the murder victims, did not belong to the victim."

A spokesman for LMPD declined to comment about the apparent error due to the ongoing investigation.

McCoy’s body was found in an SUV in a parking lot on Strawberry Lane in December 2017. Gamez’s body has not been found. Both victims were 27.

Larry Sauer remains the only suspect currently charged in the case with two counts of murder and tampering with evidence.

PREVIOUS STORIES

Lanham has been out of jail since Jan. 8 when he posted a $500,000 bond, the biggest cash bond posted in recent Jefferson County memory. Dathorne said he was sure the people who posted Lanham’s bond would get those funds back.

Sauer remains in custody at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.