LMPD: Man murdered woman, lived in home with corpse

LMPD: Man murdered woman, lived in home with corpse
Jonathan Lewis Herndon (Source: LMDC)
Jonathan Lewis Herndon (Source: LMDC)
Constance Thomas (Photo source: Friend of Constance Thomas)
Constance Thomas (Photo source: Friend of Constance Thomas)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A man has been charged with murder after an investigation into the death of a woman found in her apartment in the Bon Air neighborhood.

In addition to murder, Jonathan Lewis Herndon, 48, of Louisville, was booked for tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Louisville Metro police officers were called to the 2200 block of Gerald Court around Noon July 17 to check on the welfare of Constance Thomas. Herndon was found in the apartment with Thomas dead.

"I mean it's just evil. It's just horrifying. It's just like the devil," Dona Kerger, the victim's best friend, said.

She described what was behind Thomas's door as a nightmare.

"I said 'Connie is up there dead and I know it and you need to call them or I'm busting this door down,'" Kerger said.

On Friday, Kerger could not get a hold of Thomas, who lived in an apartment upstairs from her own.

That night Herndon told Kerger he didn't have a clue where Thomas, his girlfriend was.

"He was like, 'I don't know, but if you see her tell her I'm gone to a friend's house,'" she recalled.

On Sunday police checked Thomas's apartment and found Herndon unconscious on the couch, trying to overdose.

LMPD's Homicide Commander, Lt. Todd Kessinger said he'd written a note, though he declined to describe it.

At first, he said, Thomas wasn't immediately found.

"You don't expect it to be concealed the way the body was concealed," Kessinger said.

Thomas was later found decomposing - hidden under a pile of clothes in her room. A bag had been placed around her head.

"It's just devastating because it could have been prevented," Anne Owens said.

Owens is Herndon's former stepmother. She said she knew he'd abused Thomas years before when they first dated. She said Herndon was no stranger to violence against other women.

"It's a classic example of an individual who has been given entirely too many chances," Owens said.

Kerger knew about their violent past as a couple.

"She just kept saying 'he's sick. He's sick. He'll get better,'" Kerger said.

That day didn't come soon enough.

"She didn't deserve it," Kerger said.

Police said Herndon is in custody but is refusing to talk.

The official cause of Thomas' death was blunt force trauma. The weapon has not been found, Kessinger said.

Inside the apartment, authorities also found Thomas' dead dog, Lex. Detectives aren't sure if the dog died because it wasn't taken care of after Thomas died, or if it was purposely killed.

Herndon is being held on $100,000 bond at Louisville Metro Corrections. He is scheduled to be arraigned July 23.

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