Man gets life sentence in connection with Cass County murders

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 1:35 PM CST
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From the Cass County District Attorney’s Office

LINDEN, Texas - On Tuesday, December 6, 2022, Charles Spraberry pled guilty to the offense of Capital Murder in the 5th Judicial District Court of Cass County, Texas for the deaths of John Thomas, Jr. and Jennifer Archer. Spraberry pled to additional charges of Assault Causing Bodily Injury – Family Violence by Occlusion (strangulation), Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, Escape with a Deadly Weapon, and Assault on a Public Servant. The pleas took place before the Honorable Judge Bill Miller, with family members from both Thomas’ and Archer’s families present.

Pursuant to a recommendation from the Cass County District Attorney’s Office, Judge Miller sentenced Spraberry to Life without Parole in the Capital Murder case. Miller also assessed sentences of 25 years each on the Assault – Family Violence by Occlusion and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon charges, 40 years on the Escape with a Deadly Weapon charge, and 10 years on the Assault on a Public Servant charge. In assessing punishment, Miller ordered that all sentences were to run consecutive to the sentence in the Capital Murder case.

The Capital Murder charge arose from the deaths of John Thomas, Jr. and Jennifer Archer, who were found deceased on March 11, 2022. Both Thomas and Archer had been shot, and the camper in which Thomas was living was burned to the ground with both bodies inside. After a lengthy investigation, officers were able to recover the weapon that was believed to have been used in the murders. Forensic testing performed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that the weapon recovered was the one used in the Capital Murder.

After sentencing, one of Thomas’ sisters stated “I don’t want the end of my brother’s life here on earth to be remembered as just this horrific act of violence…but of the grace and mercy I know God, and even Johnny, are up in Heaven extending to you…and as hard as it is for my human side to say, my heart forgives you.” One of Archer’s children spoke as well, and she also extended forgiveness to Spraberry.

Cass County Criminal District Attorney Courtney Shelton states, “I am in awe of the civility that both families have shown during this time. Both the Thomases and the Archers have lost a family member to one of the most brutal acts of violence, yet they all continue to seek peace through God, and they trusted law enforcement and the judicial system to prevail.”

Shelton also wishes to thank all of the law enforcement officers that assisted in the investigation of these cases – the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol, Rangers division, Criminal Investigations division, and crime laboratory), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, investigators from the Cass County District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, Atlanta Police Department, Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Wardens, Texas Department of Criminal Justice K-9s and Handlers, Caddo Parish K-9s and Handlers, Bossier Parish K-9s and Handlers, Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal, and numerous other law enforcement agencies that provided information and assistance in various capacities. “Without the cooperation and communication of all of these law enforcement agencies, the apprehension and prosecution of Charles Spraberry would not have been possible. I, along with the Thomas and Archer families, sincerely appreciate the diligent effort put forth in bringing swift justice.”