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Brothers Arrested in Slaying of Civil Rights Activist and Wife

March 19, 1986

DALLAS (AP) _ Police investigating the slayings of an elderly couple long active in civil rights have arrested two brothers who lived a few blocks away.

The arrests Tuesday followed a tip from an informant after a $5,000 reward was posted for information in the slayings of Fred Finch Jr., 66, and his wife, Mildred, 64.

The Finches were found stabbed to death in their home Sunday morning.

Police said Kenneth Dewayne Thomas, 25, and Lonnie Charles Thomas, 21, were arrested at their home and were being held on investigative charges of capital murder.

Lonnie Thomas was believed involved only in disposing of property stolen from the couple, police said.

Investigators said some property and clothing with Finch’s initials were recovered at the brothers’ home, and they speculated that the Finches may have interrupted a burglary.

Police Capt. John Holt said Kenneth Thomas had been paroled in 1984 after serving time for an attempted murder in 1979.

Finch, a lawyer and longtime leader in the black community, led the fight in the 1950s to integrate Arlington State College, now the University of Texas at Arlington.

He also founded The Dallas Post Tribune, a weekly newspaper which he later left to start another paper, The Dallas Examiner.

Mrs. Finch had taught at El Centro College for almost two decades and had planned to retire later this year.

The reward was posted by a former dairy company executive, the Examiner and several lawyers.

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