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A Scientologist on trial for double murder: A story the church is very nervous about

[Kenny Thompson]

Kenny Thompson’s mother had questionable taste in men. Dad One — Kenny’s biological father — skipped out when he was two years old.

Maybe that contributed to keeping him from starting to speak until he was four.

By then, Mom was with the new guy, the one named Craig who was sort of Dad Two, although they never married. What a winner he turned out to be.

In 1990, Kenny was seven and living in the Alaska city of Wasilla. Sarah Palin, the woman who would become the town’s most famous product, was still working for her husband Todd’s fishing business and hadn’t yet entered politics.


For Kenny, 1990 was tough. He was struggling to keep up in school, and he hated Dad Two, Craig, who was abusive.

That same year, Craig’s brother Doug teamed up with a friend to shoot and kill a random guy in another car as they were driving on the highway into Anchorage.

Doug and his friend went to prison and blamed another friend, George, for ratting them out. From prison, Doug convinced his sister to help them kill George with a mail bomb, and she got assistance from her brother Craig — Dad Two — to construct the thing. But when the bomb was delivered to George’s house, George was out of town and his father opened it, killing him and injuring George’s mother.

Dad Two was sentenced to 22 years in prison for that, and Mom was on her own again.

But then she found Dad Three, William, which might have been fine except that she met him at the Scientology mission in Anchorage where she worked.

Kenny was being subjected to Scientology auditing by the age of nine.

When his public school wanted to get him tested to find out what was holding him back, Mom and Dad Three freaked, thinking he was going to be poked and prodded by the “evil psychs,” Scientology’s ultimate enemies, the psychiatric profession.

So they pulled Kenny out of there and homeschooled him.

With Scientology materials.

Kenny absorbed the Scientology mindset, watching videos his mother assigned, and enduring endless Scientology “training routines” that taught him to have a flat affect and exhibit zero emotion in the Scientology way.

Eventually, he learned that it could come in handy. It sometimes worked with girls, for example.

Enter Gloria.

In Kenny’s early 20s, he met her online and practically right away moved in with her and her two kids.

Well, they weren’t her kids.


It was complicated.

Gloria was from Bisbee, Arizona, which was like a Wasilla in the desert — some charm, some kitsch, and a lot of meth- and alcohol-ravaged families with serious social problems.

Gloria’s sister Penny and her husband Erik had two kids — the older one we’ll call Deedee, and the younger one a boy we’ll call Darrel. It was Gloria who figured out that Penny and Erik were messing with Deedee sexually.

Gloria turned in her own sister to the police. She then took Deedee and Darrel — with the state of Arizona’s blessing — and got the hell out of there. Alaska was about as far away as they could get. And then she met Kenny.

Kenny fell in love with Gloria and her kids, hard.

For several months, Kenny helped Gloria with Deedee and Darrel in Wasilla, and it was maybe the best time of his life.

Not that that was saying much. Kenny worked but never seemed to have money.

Mom and Dad Three were now running the Scientology mission in Anchorage, but Kenny didn’t have time or the cash for moving up the “Bridge to Total Freedom.” But he’d been a Scientologist since he was a kid, and he still considered himself one. He kept his TRs in, maintaining control of his emotions without even trying. He revered L. Ron Hubbard — it was just a part of who he was.

Then, disaster.

After Kenny had spent some time helping Gloria raise Deedee and Darrel, who were now 12 and 7, the state of Arizona changed its mind and ordered Gloria to give the children back to her sister Penny, the mother who had gone to jail for molesting Deedee.

Kenny and Gloria were devastated. The kids didn’t want to go. But they had no choice. One gut-wrenching separation scene later, the kids were back in Bisbee.

Wasilla now felt like a prison. So Kenny left, heading for Missouri, where his grandmother and grandfather — his Mom’s parents — were living in a large house and admitted that they could use some help.

It was an arrangement that suited Kenny and Gloria. And they started adding to the family, having two kids of their own.

Then, another disaster.


Back in Alaska, Mom and Dad Three, the Scientology super couple, were riding a motorcycle on a highway south of Anchorage, pulling a trailer for a camping weekend, when a Jeep traveling the other direction crossed over the centerline and hit them head-on. They died instantly.

Or, their bodies did. As a Scientologist, Kenny knew that the people he thought of as Mom and Dad Three were actually immortal beings, thetans, who had lived countless times before, going back trillions of years on other planets and in other parts of the galaxy.

Mom was the president of the Anchorage Scientology mission. Dad Three was its director. They were dedicated, serious church members. Kenny knew their eternities were assured — they’d just pick up new bodies and start over again. Kenny might even run into them again at some point. They’d be all right.

At least, that’s how Kenny maintained his Scientology affect. But inside, he was hurting. As fucked up as his life in Alaska had been growing up at times, he had loved his Mom, despite her messed up history with men.

But as he grieved, Kenny and Gloria had other worries. Although the state of Arizona was against it, Gloria was still secretly in contact with Deedee and Darrel, and what they were telling her made Kenny sick to his stomach.

Their mother, Penny, was now living in Prescott Valley, Arizona, and with another guy, Troy, who didn’t get along well with them, and he really seemed to have it in for Darrel.

Kenny and Gloria had Deedee come to Missouri for a visit, even though Penny didn’t like it. But they had come into a windfall after the death of Kenny’s parents that they weren’t expecting, and it emboldened them.

Not long after that, the planet imploded.

Deedee called Gloria with the news. Darrel’s fights with Penny’s new guy, Troy, had gotten so bad, they decided to institutionalize him.

Darrel, a 9-year-old boy, was being held in the Child Psychiatry Unit at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The psychs had the boy Kenny had helped raise and who had been cruelly ripped from Gloria by the state of Arizona.

The evil fucking psychs. From somewhere deep inside of Kenny, a rage began to build with surprising totality. This was beyond the power of his Scientology TRs to contain. He was being consumed by it.

Darrel was in danger, his eternity threatened.

Kenny’s path suddenly became clear. As a Scientologist, if there was one thing he embraced it was certainty. And in this, he had no doubt.


Kenny went to a local bank and calmly took out $10,000 in cash, his affect back in place and his TRs in.

And he started driving.

Kenny needed to see Penny. He had to convince her that Darrel was in real danger, and that she had to get him out of the hospital psych ward and turn both of the kids over to him. Kenny figured he would give her the entire $10,000 if she wanted it.

It made sense. It was decisive. So Kenny drove, and he drove.


On March 16, 2012, Doniphan, Missouri resident Kenneth Wayne Thompson, 28, arrived in Prescott Valley, Arizona at the home of Penelope Edwards, 35, and her fiance Troy Dunn, 38.

If Thompson intended for there to be some kind of negotiation, it apparently went horribly wrong.

A few hours later, police and fire crews were called to Penny’s house, which was burning. Penny and Troy were found inside, their bodies showing signs that they had been bludgeoned and hacked to death.

At almost the same time that the fire was being put out in Prescott Valley, an Arizona Highway Patrol officer pulled over the driver of a car with Missouri plates on I-40 near Flagstaff, a distance of about 90 miles.

The driver seemed jumpy, and in the car the officer could see a backpack, a gasoline can, and some dirty rubber gloves.

The man’s story, which he told without being asked, was bizarre. He said he’d been at a wild animal park and was splattered with blood when a park ranger had sloppily tossed raw meat to some lions.

The officer’s drug-sniffing dog made a hit on the car, and the officer had the man sit nearby while he searched it. In the backpack, he found a bloody hatchet and a handgun.

There was also a bag with some grocery items, and a receipt from a shop in Prescott Valley. The officer alertly called police there, who told him that they were investigating a gruesome murder scene.

Kenneth Thompson was taken into custody, and was later extradited to Yavapai County.

He is charged with killing his sister-in-law Penny Edwards and her fiance Troy Dunn. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

He’s been in Yavapai County Jail for six years awaiting trial.

None of the news stories about his arrest or prosecution have mentioned his involvement in Scientology.

His lawyers, however, plan to make it central to their defense.

Jury selection begins tomorrow in Prescott.

Our sources tell us the Church of Scientology is very nervous about any publicity linking it to an accused double murderer on trial for his life.


Start making your plans!


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] When two political longshots spar over Joy Villa and Scientology, everyone wins
[TWO years ago] Phil and Willie Jones launch a new effort for billboard about Scientology disconnection
[THREE years ago] AUDIO: Hear Scientology boast about the $5.7 million it got from Google in free ads
[FOUR years ago] The new Scientology ad running on TV — and maybe for the Super Bowl
[FIVE years ago] See Scientology’s new TV ad before it’s released — and more IAS gala video!
[SIX years ago] John Sweeney Talks The Church of Fear, Which Comes Out Today
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology, Cooked: Commenters of the Week!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,322 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,453 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,955 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,435 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 498 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 386 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,693 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,561 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,335 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,109 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,455 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,021 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,941 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,108 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,689 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,949 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,989 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,701 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,227 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,316 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,456 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,776 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,632 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,751 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,107 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,409 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,515 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,918 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,789 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,372 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,867 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,121 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,230 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 7, 2019 at 07:00

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Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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