A DeKalb County teacher was allowed to return to the classroom after his arrest for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from his church, according to the school district. But early Monday, Roy McClendon-Thompson told the school he would need a substitute teacher for his classes.
The reason? Dunwoody police say McClendon-Thompson had killed his 45-year-old boyfriend about an hour earlier.
James Curtis Jones was found dead in the parking lot of the Arrive Perimeter apartments around 5:20 a.m., police said. He had been shot in the chest. Investigators quickly identified McClendon-Thompson as the suspect.
At 6:23 a.m. Monday, McClendon-Thompson requested a substitute for his social studies classes at McNair High School, the district said Thursday. While classes continued, McClendon-Thompson allegedly fled from his Ellenwood home, where police had gone to speak with him.
After driving only a few miles, McClendon-Thompson struck another vehicle head-on in Clayton County, according to police. The 42-year-old died at the scene of the crash.
According to investigators, McClendon-Thompson and Jones had been dating after meeting online. But in recent days, McClendon Thompson had learned Jones was cheating on him. Two days before he was killed, Jones told a Dunwoody officer that McClendon-Thompson had threatened him, a police report states.
The officer took statements from both men, and McClendon-Thompson said he blocked Jones on his phone, the police report states. But Jones allegedly still emailed McClendon-Thompson, although Jones declined to show the officer the emails. The officer told Jones to end all communication with McClendon-Thompson.
News that McClendon-Thompson had allegedly killed a man before dying in a crash shocked his school community and close friends.
“What I knew of Roy was he was a great individual who had a heart for the community,” attorney Gerald Griggs told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He was loved. And he gave to this city in ways most people will never know.”
But McClendon-Thompson had been in trouble with police less than three weeks before his death.
In April 2018, a Tabernacle Baptist Church secretary reported to police that between November 2015 and April 2018, McClendon-Thompson made multiple withdrawals from the church account and deposited the money into personal accounts. McClendon-Thompson had served part time as the church’s chief financial officer.
The amount McClendon-Thompson allegedly embezzled from the church totaled $103,843.30, the church secretary told police. An arrest warrant was later issued for McClendon-Thompson charging him with theft by taking and financial transaction card theft.
McClendon-Thompson was arrested at his school and booked into the Fulton County Jail on March 21, records show, and he was released two days later after posting $15,000 bond. Days later, he was back in the classroom.
“He reported to the Office of Legal Affairs on March 27, 2019, and returned to work on March 27, 2019,” the DeKalb school district said in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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