Nov. 11, 2002
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- John Henry Thompson was convicted on Nov. 8 for the March 2001 murder of a Domino's Pizza store manager, and for setting fire to the store.
According to the News-Record, jurors will decide on Nov. 12 whether Thompson, 34, receives the death penalty or a life sentence.
Thompson, 34, displayed no emotion after the verdict was announced in Guilford County Superior Court. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before finding him guilty of killing Kenneth Bruhmuller, 29, manager of the Domino's store.
During the trial, the prosecution played a videotape from the pizza store's video surveillance camera showing Bruhmuller letting Thompson inside before opening time that morning. Bruhmuller, who recognized Thompson as a past participant in Domino's management training, allowed Thompson to order five pizzas.
On the tape, Thompson is seen leaving the store and returning moments later. Out of view of the camera, he produced a sawed-off shotgun from under his jacket and shot Bruhmuller twice in the face.
Thompson attempted unsuccessfully to open the store's safe, and then lit the store on fire hoping to destroy any evidence. The surveillance videotape showed smoke filling the store and Thompson driving off in a 1989 Chevrolet Caprice.
During testimony in the trial, Greensboro police Detective Norman Rankin said Thompson told him he accidentally shot Bruhmuller after going to Domino's to rob the place for money to pay mounting bills. He said Thompson couldn't remember setting the fire.