Parole Denial to James Albert Grosse sign now

Parole Board Victim Services
Georgia Parole Board
Floyd Building, Fifth Floor East
2 Martin Luther King Dr., SE
Atlanta, GA 30334

Subject: Parole Denial to James Albert Grosse

Dear Parole Board Members:

We, the signers of this petition, are requesting the Board to deny parole for James Albert Grosse who's hearing is scheduled in early 2011. There are three basic reasons for making this appeal.

First, we believe the facts surrounding the brutal murder he committed and his remorseless behavior that followed shows he is a reckless, violent individual with no regard for human life. We believe that imprisonment cannot reform him and that society would be at great risk if he were to be released.

Second, there are previous crimes that he has committed, unknown to this Board, the details for which are presented below.

Third, we contend that twenty three years imprisonment is far too short of the life plus twenty years sentence he received in May, 1988 for the crimes he committed and confessed to.

In support of these arguments we offer the following which is derived from official police and court records:

On December 3, 1987 James Grosse, then age 20, committed malice murder. The victim was Billie Neal Thornburgh, age 57, a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, married, a father of 4 children and a grandfather. Mr. Thornburgh was living in Florida and employed as a security guard with Georgia Pacific.

On that date James Grosse was hitchhiking south from Pittsburgh, PA along I-95 in Georgia when he offered a ride by Mr. Thornburgh. He was driving a 1979 van with a small tow trailer and had been in WV attending to the estate of a sister who had recently died. Mr. Thornburgh, after exiting and stopping at a gas station, drove to an isolated spot in a wooded area. It is not known whether this was of his own free will or was forced to do so. What is known is that James Grosse pulled a .25 caliber semi-automatic from his pocket and, from outside the vehicle, shot Mr. Thornburgh in the back of the head and in the back. James Grosse then walked up to his victim and shot him again between the eyes to, as he later confessed, "make sure he was dead."

After removing the victim's wallet, which contained a total of $26, he dragged Mr. Thornburgh's body 20 feet off the dirt road, leaving it lie uncovered in a wooded area. He then drove the van back to the same gas station and purchased gasoline with the victim's money, throwing the empty wallet into a trash can at the gas pumps. He drove to a nearby parking lot, removed the trailer license plates, dropped off the trailer and then drove the stolen van to Pittsburgh. There he disposed most of the van contents including clothing and photographs but kept Mr. Thornburgh's checkbook. From this he later cashed a $200 forged check from an elderly woman he knew through his family.

Four days after the murder Pittsburgh police stopped the van with a warrant for his arrest but James Grosse fled on foot and finally arrested 2 days later. He eventually confessed to the murder and later led GA police to Mr. Thornburghs decomposed body.

James Albert Grosse, at age 20, had dropped out of high school. He was unemployed and no home address upon his arrest, no job skills to support himself, no vehicle or drivers license, no savings or personal property of any value and no family to support. There was no reason for him to suspect that Mr. Thornburgh had any large amount of money on him nor was a nine year old van with high mileage worth killing for. We believe that James Grosse's real motivation for killing another human being was for the thrill of it. If he hadn't killed Mr. Thornburgh he would have eventually killed someone else; he may have killed again if it were not for his timely arrest. James Grosse purchased the murder weapon three weeks prior to murdering Mr. Thornburgh and was on him at the time of his arrest. During his interrogation he was asked why he carried a gun he said because people "mess over me..."

At his hearing it was stated that James Albert Grosse had no prior record. In fact he was arrested on March 17, 1987 in Daytona Beach, FL and subsequently served 84 days in jail. We now know that James Grosse had committed other crimes and was wanted in Pittsburgh; he may have been hitchhiking south to avoid arrest. We submit that James Grosse was a hitchhiking drifter who had likely committed other unreported or unsolved crimes to support himself.

James Albert Grosse pleaded guilty on May 24, 1988 and two days later was sentenced to life in prison for murder and an additional 20 years for armed robbery. We believe that the 23 years he has served to date is far too short given the sentence handed down and the brutal manner in which the crime was committed along with his lack of remorse. James Grosse has told prison personnel that he has contacted the victim's remaining sister on several occasions to express remorse for his crime. This is a lie; he never contacted her or any member of Mr. Thornburgh's family. In prison he bragged about his killing "a Korean War veteran". A fellow prisoner stated that James Grosse said that when hes released from prison he intends to kill Mr. Thornburghs sister and her husband whom he blames for his imprisonment. It has been reported that James Grosse found religion in prison and because of that he deserves to be set free. We do not believe that James Albert Grosse is rehabilitated and that remains what he was when he was imprisoned, a cold-blooded killer.

We plead that you consider these facts, deny parole to James Albert Grosse and keep our community safe from him.

Thank you for your consideration

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Jeanne BowenBy:
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Petition target:
Ms. Shalandra Robertson, Director

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