No bond for suspect in murder of Creighton director of baseball operations
'it's sickening,' Douglas County Attorney reacts to Chris Gradoville's murder
Updated: 11:34 PM CDT Oct 1, 2021
OMAHA, Neb. —
A judge ordered no bond Friday for Ladell Thornton, suspected in Thursday shooting death of Christopher Gradoville.
Gradoville was killed outside a rental property near 62nd and Pratt as Gradoville arrived to complete some maintenance at the house. He had recently remodeled the home, and Thornton had rented it from an agency.
"All murder cases are sad but this one is particularly, it's sickening. It's devastating. There aren't words to describe. It's unimaginable," said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.
The 43-year-old Thornton is charged with first degree murder and weapons charges in the case, as well as being a prohibited person. Thornton has more than 300 entries on his criminal record.
"Prohibitive means you possessed or had a firearm and you shouldn't have one in the first place because you are a convicted felon," Kleine said.
Gradoville suffered mulitple gunshot wounds. Kleine said at least a dozen shots were fired by the gunman.
Prosecutors offered no motive for the shooting during Thornton's court appearance Friday afternoon.
"It appears he was simply gunned down," Kleine said. "All he was doing was his job, doing some maintenance work at the house."
Gradoville was volunteer director of operations for the Creighton University baseball program and was a catcher for the program from 2004-2007. Watch here for more on Gradoville.
Prosecutors asked the judge to not give Thornton a bond, stating he has 316 entries on his criminal record. They said Omaha police responded to the home on Pratt Street after getting a call for shots fired. Officers found Gradoville on the ground suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. They said Thornton, the renter of the home came outside and made "incriminating statements."
The public defender's office asked for a bond saying Thornton is "a lifelong resident of Douglas County, a father of six children and self-employed barber."
The judge said, due to the nature of the accusations, he ordered Thornton held without bond.
At the time of the shooting, Thornton was out on bond for a different case. He's charged with strangulation and terroristic threats against his ex-girlfriend from a June incident.
According to court documents, the woman said when she refused Thornton's sexual advances, "he grabbed her by her wrists and threw her to the ground. Thornton then back mounted the victim and palced his hands around her neck and began choking her to the point that she lost the ability to breath freely. The victim stated Thornton was yelling, "B**^^*you know who I am? I'm gonna kill you B**^*^. The victim stated she genuinely believed that she was about to die. "