Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man sentenced to life in 2004 Zephyrhills double murder

Kyle Aric Thomas, 33, pleaded no contest Thursday to two counts of first-degree murder. He said he remembers nothing of the bloody events inside the Zephyrhills mobile home in 2004.


Kyle Aric Thomas, 33, pleaded no contest Thursday to two counts of first-degree murder. He said he remembers nothing of the bloody events inside the Zephyrhills mobile home in 2004.

DADE CITY — After Kyle Aric Thomas murdered his father and his father's girlfriend in late December 2004, authorities said, he spent more than a week inside their Zephyrhills mobile home with the bodies, the thermostat set to 55 degrees.

He ordered pizza and played computers games.

Then he fled.

When detectives caught up with him later in Georgia, where his mother lives, Thomas said he remembered nothing about the days surrounding the murders. A heroin addict who had been getting methadone treatments, he claimed he had been in a drug-induced stupor.

On Thursday, more than five years after the bodies of Craig Thomas and Irene Rita Martin were discovered, stabbed and beaten, in the home on Lawanda Loop, Thomas pleaded no contest to their murders. He was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

The state was seeking the death penalty in the case, which was set for trial next month.

Thomas, 33, made no statement when he was sentenced.

Afterward, his mother, Linda Cosgrove, maintained her son's innocence.

"He didn't do it, but we didn't want to risk the death penalty," she said through tears. "It's just sad all the way around. It's a tragedy, and a lot of it has to do with finances."

She added: "He loves his dad."

Even with Thomas' plea, the case remains a disturbing mystery. Among the unanswered questions: Why was the couple killed?

Margaret Martin talked with her sister frequently by phone. She told investigators that father and son had been arguing over whether Kyle Thomas should return to Georgia, where he was wanted on a warrant for violating his probation.

After she didn't hear from her sister for two weeks, Margaret Martin contacted police from her home in Maine.

There were no signs of forced entry at the Zephyrhills home, and police had to get a locksmith to let them in.

The bodies were discovered in the bathroom. Irene Martin, 45, was nearly decapitated. An autopsy determined she and Craig Thomas, 54, had been stabbed multiple times and hit with a blunt object.

Tests in the home showed the carpets and furniture had been cleaned of blood, court documents say.

Kyle Thomas claims to remember none of it. He told detectives he woke up on Dec. 23 to find the bodies and the sanitized scene.

After that, Thomas not only ordered pizza, but complained to Pizza Hut about his order.

A free pizza was delivered to him Dec. 26.

Craig Thomas and Rita Martin had moved to Florida in 1997. Thomas' brother, Brian Thomas of Tampa, told the Times in 2005 that the two were soulmates, though they lived on modest disability income and couldn't afford to get married.

When Craig Thomas' car broke down, Brian gave him a 1979 gray Oldsmobile Toronado.

It became Craig Thomas' most prized possession. Then it became Kyle Thomas' getaway car, which he used to flee to Georgia. He was captured there Jan. 6, 2005, the day he was declared a suspect.

Reached Thursday, Brian Thomas said he wished the case had been resolved sooner because Martin's twin brother died last week.

"He was so upset when this happened. I guess he knows about it wherever he's at," Brian Thomas said.

As for himself, he said, "the saddest part of the whole thing is not knowing what really happened."

Molly Moorhead can be reached at or (727) 869-6245.

Man sentenced to life in 2004 Zephyrhills double murder 05/13/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 8:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  4. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Charles Bradley, acclaimed Florida soul singer, dies at 68


    Acclaimed Florida R&B powerhouse Charles Bradley, whose raw, pained voice earned him the nickname the Screaming Eagle of Soul, has died of cancer at 68, his representatives announced Saturday.

    Charles Bradley performed at the 2016 Gasparilla Music Festival.