Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced that on Friday, Dec. 16, an Essex County jury convicted Forrest Thomas, 44, of Newark of murdering his mother-in-law Carol Spratt, 76, also of Newark.
A frail, ailing woman who was on oxygen 24 hours a day, Spratt relied on Thomas to take care of her. Yesterday, a jury found Thomas guilty of killing Ms. Spratt. He was also found guilty of disturbing human remains. The trial was before the Honorable Peter V. Ryan, J.S.C.
According to Assistant Prosecutor Michele Miller, who tried the case, on Jan. 18, 2010 two junk collectors found the body of Ms. Spratt, clothed in a night gown, stuffed in a garbage and placed in a shopping cart by the dumpster behind 180 South Orange Avenue in Newark. They called 911. Having no identification on her body, a missing person’s investigation was launched. It revealed that the victim was Ms. Spratt.
Officers discovered that on Jan. 13, Thomas had been permanently banned from Garden Senior Apartments, owned by New Community Corporation, because he was abusive to Ms. Spratt and was stealing from her. That was the last time she was seen alive.
After killing the victim Thomas lived with her body for three days in her apartment before getting rid of her. During that three-day period he tried to sell the victim’s belongings to neighbors, telling them she had tripped over her oxygen cord, was in the hospital, but would be moving to Florida when she was released.