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Man accused of killing Dollar Tree employee found incompetent for trial

Dollar Tree
Posted at 2:28 PM, Aug 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-21 14:28:42-04

LAWRENCE — The man accused of killing a cashier at the Dollar Tree in Lawrence in May has been found incompetent to stand trial.

On Monday, Jalen Thomas, 21, was found incompetent to stand trial just three months after he was charged with murder in the death of Jasmine Bennett.

According to court documents, Thomas told investigators he committed the crime because he was mad Bennett refused to give him an item exchange weeks earlier,

Police say Jasmine Bennett was working inside the store when she was shot multiple times. She was rushed to the hospital where she later died.

Jasmine Bennett.png

Court documents say Thomas was a former employee of the store. He first told investigators that he was angry at Bennett's mother, who was the manager at another Dollar Tree store, because she had promised him hours and then changed her mind.

Thomas then told them that Bennett had refused to do a merchandise exchange for him and it made him angry so he purchased a handgun shortly after.

The manager working that day told detectives that Thomas had been fired from the store in March for stealing and that he had returned at least two other times causing problems, according to court documents.

She said Bennett had paged her to warn her that Thomas was inside the store, but she did not see him.

Thomas will return to court on November 27 for another status conference. If nothing has changed, he will remain in treatment at the State Hospital.