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Convict dies in Nevada prison 34 years after landing on death row

A four-time convicted murderer died inside of a Nevada prison Friday, more than 30 years after he was first sentenced to die for strangling an escort.

Although Thomas Wayne Crump, 78, confessed to the killings of seven people, attempted killings of seven others and numerous robberies, assaults and kidnappings, he never felt any remorse.

“I’m not making any excuses. I don’t feel compassion for the victims or anything that I’ve ever done,” Crump told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a May 1984 jailhouse interview shortly after his sentencing. “Why? I don’t know. I have no idea. I’ve searched for that ‘why’ for so many years.”

And for those he attempted to kill, the newspaper reported, he would have “finished the job” if he had known they survived his attacks.

On May 2, 1984, he was sentenced to death. He told Review-Journal reporter Kent Lauer that he had hoped death by lethal injection would put an end to his rage. But he was granted multiple stays of execution and survived another 34 years, 1 month and 13 days until 5:15 a.m. Friday, when he died at a medical facility inside Northern Nevada Correction Center in Carson City.

He was on death row for three decades after a jury of seven women and five men convicted him of first-degree murder on April 26, 1984, for the death of 26-year-old Jodie Jameson.

Although he spent several years appealing his sentence, he had asked to be executed while confessing in an Oct. 5, 1983, videotape provided to authorities, the Review-Journal reported at the time. The convicted killer was concerned he would probably kill again.

Video of his confession was played in court. He admitted to strangling Jameson, whose body was found Oct. 4, 1980, in a room at what was then known as the Sunshine Motel, 2200 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

Jameson, who worked for an escort service, was found tied and strangled with pantyhose and a torn pillowcase.

In the confession video, Crump said he got mad at her because somebody entered the room and took his money while he and Jameson were cleaning up in the bathtub. He thought she was trick-rolling him by unlocking the motel door.

“I told her she could take it to hell with her, and I drowned her,” he said in the confession, this newspaper previously reported.

The jury found him guilty after less than an hour of deliberation.

A hearing to determine whether he would be executed was moved to a different courtroom because he had threatened to kill somebody, according to a story at the time.

During a Nevada Supreme Court review of his execution sentencing, Justice Charles Springer remarked: “If you want a death penalty candidate, this guy is a 10.”

The state’s high court upheld Crump’s sentencing. He unsuccessfully appealed multiple times to the high court, and even attempted to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear his case in 1986.

When a Metropolitan Police Department homicide detective first arrested Crump at New Mexico State Prison in 1983, he was already serving two life sentences for shooting and killing his wife, Rhonda, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this newspaper reported in 1984.

He was also convicted in the robberies and fatal shootings of a Minnesota man driving through Albuquerque in 1980 and an Albuquerque cab driver in 1982. The Minnesotan had given a ride tovCrump, who had fled to Albuquerque after the Las Vegas strangling, a detective testified at a hearing to determine whether he would receive the death penalty.

Crump, who grew up in Muncie, Indiana, attributed his cold-blooded ways to landing behind bars at an early age, the convicted killer told the Review-Journal.

An autopsy will be scheduled.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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