ANOKA, Minn. (KMSP) - A man who pleaded guilty to beating a 95-year-old man to death was sentenced Monday to life in prison.
Isaiah Thomas, 28, was initially charged with second-degree murder. A grand jury later indicted him on first-degree murder, which carries a possible life sentence.
Thomas pleaded guilty to the brutal killing of Albert Loehlein in November 2016. A neighbor delivering groceries discovered the 95-year-old man had been beaten to death inside his ransacked home.
Thomas was arrested two days later after fingerprints helped identify him as the suspect. He told investigators he entered Loehlein’s home to commit a burglary, but when confronted by the 95-year-old, he hit him with a flashlight and clock several times, killing him.
At his sentencing, Loehlein’s family lashed out at Thomas for killing their beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather.
“Never in a million years did we think we had to protect Dad from the scum of the earth who would kill an innocent, vulnerably aging man in his own home while robbing him of a few coins,” Loehlein’s daughter, Linda Fenwick, said.
Loehlein had lived in the same house on 5th Avenue for 67 years. At the time of the murder, his hearing and eyesight were failing.
“Isaiah Thomas beat a vulnerable, old man who had little eyesight left and was hard of hearing,” Loehlein’s son, Ray, said. “He beat my Dad and left his body sprawled in the bedroom and then went thru the home taking items to pawn.”
In court on Monday, Thomas gave a passionate apology, blaming his poor upbringing and circumstances for his violent attack on Loehlein. Thomas has a lengthy criminal history going back to his teenage years, including three burglary convictions and a fourth pending when he was arrested.
“The truth is it was a warm blooded action – bone-deep misplaced anger and a clarification,” Thomas said. “I take ownership of what I’ve done.”
Thomas was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.