SMITHFIELD – A violent habitual felon and registered sex offender has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Kenneth Wayne Lamm of Wilson, NC was found guilty by a Johnston County Jury of murder, on Monday.
Lamm was convicted of killed 71 year-old Kathy Thomas of Kenly, whose body was later found buried in the back yard of the defendant’s girlfriends house in Wilson.
The 55 year-old serial rapist has spent much of his adult life in prison.
The trial lasted over three weeks in Johnston County Superior Court in Smithfield. After the jury returned a guilty verdict of second-degree murder, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Lock sentenced Kenneth Lamm to life in prison without parole.
Assistant District Attorney Caitlin Slavin stated, “The District Attorney’s office is pleased with the verdicts and the sentence imposed. We are very grateful to the jurors in this case who were able to see the truth in a very difficult case. We are also grateful to the brave survivors who were the victims of the defendant’s previous violent crimes. At great personal cost, they all agreed to testify in the case so that no one else would ever have to suffer at the hands of the defendant. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for coming forward and for their courageous testimony. We also appreciate the hard work of Lt. (Blaine) Hicks and the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. The Johnston County District Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively pursue justice for the victims of violent crimes. Our community is much safer now that Kenneth Wayne Lamm will spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Kathy Thomas was last seen alive around November 23, 2018 at her home on Highway 222 about seven miles west of Kenly. She was reported missing November 30th, approximately seven days after she last made contact with family members.
Lamm killed Thomas in Johnston County then transported her body to Wilson where it was buried. He was arrested in December 2018.
Lamm has a lengthy criminal record. He was released from prison in 2012 after serving more than 18 years for rape, sex offense and burglary.
Lamm Never Charged In 2013 Rape But Victim Was Arrested
Some believe Kenneth Wayne Lamm should have already been back in prison after an incident investigated by Wilson Police.
According to a 2013 Wilson Times article, a Wilson woman reported she was the victim of a break-in and sexual assault in January 2013. The victim, a former insurance agent, said she was tied up, sexually assaulted, and thrown in a tub of scalding water. She immediately reported the rape and told Wilson Police she remembered Lamm as a man who had previously gone to her home offering to cut her lawn. She did not remember his name.
Lamm was later identified by Wilson Police but never charged. During questioning he allegedly claimed he was her boyfriend and was involved in a romantic relationship. According to the article, Lamm claimed there was a domestic dispute on the day in question and the victim, he told police, had made numerous phone calls and sent text messages to him.
No charges were ever filed against Kenneth Lamm for the 2013 sexual assault but the victim in the case was arrested. The woman was charged by Wilson Police with filing a false police report. To prepare for her trial on the false report charges, she hired a 25-year veteran private investigator who obtained her phone records and found no phone calls to or from Lamm. The investigator also said Lamm made a threat towards him, but it was never reported to Wilson Police.
According to the newspaper article, Wilson Police would not say if they reviewed the victim’s phone records in 2013. They would also not answer questions if they investigated Lamm’s claims he was romantically involved with the victim.
During an interview with the private investigator, Kenneth Lamm said he met the Wilson woman in December 2012 when he knocked on her door advertising lawn services. He claimed they had consensual intercourse more than once in the month that followed.
In November 2013, a Wilson judge dismissed the false report charges against the victim. She filed a complaint seeking to have prosecutors take another look at the break-in and sexual assault but Kenneth Lamm was never charged. The victim, fearful for her safety and that Lamm might once again attack her, moved four counties away.