SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The man who was arrested Tuesday after his wife’s murder is now accused of brutally assaulting an inmate inside Lackawanna County Prison.
Thomas Evans was arrested Tuesday on theft charges after his wife was found murdered in her West Scranton home. Corrections officers say just hours after he was booked in prison, they found Evans choking a fellow inmate.
The victim wore a trachea tube to help him breath and officers say they found the tube on the floor of the cell. The DA’s office also identified the string rope that held the victim’s trachea tube into place. Evans is charged with crimes including attempting criminal homicide and aggravated assault.
The violent attack inside the prison happened within 24 hours of the murder. Evan’s wife, Tara Maria Evans was found dead in her West Scranton home Monday night. The couple’s next-door neighbor tells Eyewitness News she never would have guessed Evans could be capable of such violence.
Natalie Nee says Scranton police officers have not left her street since her next door neighbor, Tara Marie Evans, was found dead Monday night. A reality she’s still struggling to accept.
“It’s really hard to talk about her in the past. It breaks my heart at the same time to say ‘she did or she was’,” Nee said.
She says she thought something was off when she didn’t see the couple’s dog that day.
“I let mine out to go to the bathroom, Red wasn’t outside like all day,” Nee said.
She says police arrived soon after. Tara’s death was ruled a homicide, but the exact cause is still under investigation. Her husband, Thomas Evans was arrested Tuesday for theft and other charges including the theft of his wife’s gun.
Once inside the Lackawanna County Prison, corrections officers say they found Evans strangling another inmate. Nee says the news was a complete shock.
“I just didn’t think he was capable of doing something like that,” Nee said.
Nee said she occasionally heard the couple argue, but she says it was never alarming. The couple shared a four-year-old daughter. She recalled Evans helping her with yardwork, and she trusted the couple to look after her property sometimes.
She says Tara was kind, hardworking and very thoughtful. Nee says the 37-year-old mother had just been accepted to nursing school.
“She loved those kids. She took really good care of them. Really good care of them and she was trying to give them a really good life,” Nee said.
Flowers and candles now form a memorial for Tara in front of her home. Nee says she made her own contribution.
“She admired some flowers in my backyard, some purple ones, so I just picked them and I put them in a little vase, because this happened so fast. I just put them out there and I figured she’d know what I meant. She’d know what these mean,” Nee said.
We’re told Tara Evans had three children. At this time Thomas Evans has not been charged with her murder.
The investigation is ongoing.