Neighbors Testify At Thornton Homicide Trial

January 8, 2019

SCRANTON — A woman testified today at Joseph James Thornton’s homicide trial that she heard Stephanie Tyminski repeatedly cry for help the day she died in 2014.

Hypatia Smith, who lived next door to Thornton at Valley View Terrace in South Scranton, was among three neighbors who took the witness stand as Thornton’s trial on first- and third-degree murder entered its second day in Lackawanna County Court.

“Somebody please help me,” Smith told a jury she heard Tyminski scream three or four times on Dec. 9, 2014, when Thornton is accused of fatally beating the 29-year-old woman in her apartment.

Smith’s fiance, Will Savage, who testified he heard one of the screams, told jurors when he opened the door of their apartment to investigate, he spotted Thornton crouching in the hallway.

Thornton told him he had defecated in his pants and told him to shut the door, Savage said.

A downstairs neighbor, Falisha Collins, testified she also heard Tyminski scream but got no response when she went to the victim’s apartment to check on her.

Thornton, 30, was once again absent from the courtroom after Judge James Gibbons ordered his removal Monday when the defendant failed to offer assurances he would not disrupt the proceedings.

Gibbons told attorneys in the case he will make arrangements to bring Thornton back to the courthouse Wednesday to give him another chance to participate in his defense.

Check back for updates.

Contact the writer: dsingleton@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9132

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