Man given beer by arson investigators wants out of Healing Place while awaiting new trial
In March, Judge Olu Stevens vacated U.B. Thomas' arson conviction and 20-year prison sentence. He has been court-ordered to stay at the Healing Place.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Seven years after a jury convicted a man for arson, U.B. Thomas is out of jail because investigators gave him alcohol the day he confessed.
Thomas was then hoping to be released from the Healing Place, an addiction recovery center in Louisville, but that didn't happen.
"Mr. Thomas has completed, successfully, his program at the Healing Place, so we'd like to make changes to his residence," Thomas' attorney, Euva Blandford, said in court. "It's cut and dry. I was ordered a new trial. I don't know why we didn't do that."
A court order forced Thomas to stay at the Healing Place. The prosecution wants him to stay there, so a hearing is now set for next month to discuss the issue.
"I've been waiting eight years and six months for this date, so I've grown accustomed to being told no," Thomas said. "But still, by the grace of God, I'm still able to keep carrying on."
In the early morning hours of May 3, 2009, fires were set in rooming houses on West Hill, East St. Catherine, Rowan and Duncan streets. Thomas and his then-girlfriend, Colleen "Pebbles" Compton, lived in one of the homes and were soon picked up by arson investigators.
In March, Judge Olu Stevens ruled that beer given to Thomas by investigators changed the outcome of his 2009 arson case. Thomas said because of the beer, he falsely confessed. Stevens then vacated Thomas' conviction and 20-year prison sentence.
"I did not set no fires," Thomas said. "There's a video of me two miles a way at the time the fires are being set."
Thomas said he can't take any job offers until he moves out of the Healing Place.
"Now we're asking a judge to allow him to live in a sober living facility," Blandford said.
Thomas said the facility is connected to the Healing Place but would give him more freedom to be able to take a job and make money.
Blandford said the appeals process can take a while, so he may not see a new trial for a year. In the meantime, he's working on a civil lawsuit with his litigation attorney.
"Time is ticking," Thomas said. "I'm still at the Healing Place, and I'm still incarcerated somewhere."
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