A Hallstead-area man convicted of two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the Feb. 11, 2012 Great Bend Twp. shooting deaths of Joshua Rogers and Gilberto Alvarez will spend six to 12 years in prison.
Lloyd Thomas, 47, was sentenced by President Judge Kenneth Seamans Monday afternoon in Susquehanna County Court following nearly two hours of emotional testimony from the Alvarez, Rogers and Thomas families.
Thomas received concurrent six to 12 year sentences for both counts of voluntary manslaughter, followed by eight years probation. He was also assessed $100 fines on the drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana convictions.
Thomas said, “I’m sorry for your losses. It’s a tragedy I will live with for the rest of my life. I’m really sorry. Please forgive me.”
“It’s my turn now,” Joshua Rogers’ father, George Rogers of Tunkhannock said when he took the stand. “I sat in the court room quietly in the trial.”
He said that although he was glad the jury handed down a verdict of guilty, it wasn’t the verdict he wanted.
Thomas was found not guilty by the jury on the more serious first and third degree homicide counts lodged against him.
“This man murdered my son, Joshua Rogers, and his best friend, Gilberto Alvarez. They were shot dead for no good reason,” Mr. Rogers told the court.
He spoke of Joshua Rogers and Alvarez’s military service. “Both served their country, and were decorated for it,” he said adding the men knew they could be killed in action. “Neither thought they would be killed at home.”
“This man had control of a gun shop but no control of his actions,” Rogers said.
“Someone must be punished; a standard must be set,” Rogers said. “The right message must be sent.”
Judge Seamans said he viewed the case as “one moment in time; an hour where bade decisions were made.”
He said he did not believe Thomas intended to shoot Rogers’ car as it was driving up the road and said that “colossal errors” brought about the tragic incident.
“There are three families here today. We are left with an awful moment in time where awful, deadly mistakes were made. The worst thing that could happen did happen.”