Jury convicts Tacoma man in death of his boss

Herald news services

TACOMA — A 24-year-old man could face the death penalty after he was convicted of shooting his boss four times in the back of the head.

Prosecutors said Covell Thomas killed Richard Geist, 26, in March 1998, and stole $5,000 from him. Thomas worked for Geist’s cleaning business.

Jurors convicted Thomas on Tuesday and will return to Pierce County Superior Court on Nov. 14 to decide whether to give Thomas the death penalty or life in prison.

Thomas’ lawyers admitted that he had planned to rob his boss, but said there was no evidence that Thomas planned to kill him or followed through.

Edward Rembert, accused of being an accomplice, will stand trial for aggravated first-degree murder. But because he was only 17 at the time, he will not face the death penalty if convicted.

Thomas’ and Geist’s families wept in the courtroom as the verdict was read.

"He was a good baby. He was a good boy, and he was a good man," Geist’s grandmother said.

Geist’s aunt said she was relieved by the verdict.

"There’s going to be some closure for my sister and her family," she said. "But I’m not relieved that my nephew is gone."

Both women asked not to be identified.

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