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Double Murder Trial Expected to Test New Castle Doctrine Law

Nearly two years after a double murder in Susquehanna County, the case is finally going before a jury.
Nearly two years after a double murder in Susquehanna County, the case is finally going before a jury.

The trial of Lloyd Thomas is expected to test a relatively new state law that allows a person to use force, including deadly force, when they're attacked in their home.

The new law is known as the Castle Doctrine. It was signed into law just months before Lloyd Thomas allegedly killed the two men in February 2012.

According to testimony Monday, the victims went to his property aggravated because someone shot at their Mustang while they were driving.

The victims were Joshua Rogers and Gilberto Alvarez.

With the main question whether this case is self-defense, there is a good chance Lloyd Thomas will take the stand.

"I would think so but as a defense counselor you don't make that decision until you have to make that decision," defense attorney George Lepley said.

Neighbors, friends of the victim and a state police corporal were among the first people to testify Monday.

Lloyd Thomas maintains he killed the two men out of self-defense but the Susquehanna County District Attorney believes he shot first and asked questions later.

"I believe that you're going to hear testimony that these guys came on the property in a pinter-movement, like a military movement, one to the front of the house, one to the back of the house," Lepley said. "The guy in the back of the house was clearly seen to be armed with a shotgun trying to get in the house."

When asked how everything was going on the first day, LLoyd Thomas said, "I just better not say anything. I'm sorry."

According to Thomas' attorney this may be the first time Pennsylvania's Castle Doctrine is tested in court.

"To my knowledge, it's the first time that its been raised or that its come into effect," Lepley said.

Lloyd Thomas is facing two counts of criminal homicide.

If convicted, he faces life in prison. The District Attorney has taken the death penalty option off the table.

The trial is expected to last through the end of the week in Susquehanna County.
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