On Thursday, Jan. 21, the Alabama Board of Pardons & Paroles denied parole for convicted murderer Micheal Anthony Mayola. Mayola was convicted for the 1962 kidnapping and murder of 11-year-old Larry Wayne Thomas. On Aug. 2, 1962, Mayola approached Thomas and a friend at a Midfield baseball field. He let the friend go before driving Thomas back to his Highland Lake shack.
“The file of this inmate no doubt details the facts of the crime,” Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey wrote in a letter to the board. “What this inmate did to Larry is difficult to even type. As a mother of a son, I cannot imagine what was going through little Larry’s mind as he was taken from the area he knew as home and was placed in shack where this inmate sodomized him. There is no doubt that the last hours of Larry’s life were filled with horror. Following hours of terrorizing Larry, this inmate shot him in the head, through the eye, cut his body with a knife, and covered his body with disinfectant to speed his decomposition. This inmate then wrapped little Larry’s body in a blanket and placed it in a shallow trench that would serve as Larry’s grave. The pain that Larry’s family must have gone through knowing what happened to their son is gut-wrenching.
“The monstrous acts of this inmate on that day back in August 1962 not only took a child from his family but also took away the innocence of every child in Blount and Jefferson Counties. Children no longer played outside. They were constantly looking over their shoulders. Their parents no longer felt safe with their children out of their sight. Over fifty years later, those citizens who were children in 1962 recall the death of Larry Thomas, recall the fear of their parents for their safety, and recall how this inmate forever changed their lives.”
Twenty-seven days after Mayola abducted and took the life of Thomas, a Blount County grand jury indicted him on murder charges. His capital murder trial began Nov. 12, and at 5:30 p.m., Nov. 13, the jury received the case. According to the Nov. 22 issue of The Southern Democrat, the jury deliberated for a total of nine hours before declaring him guilty, but spared his life by recommending life in prison without parole.
The Southern Democrat further reported that while the judge respected the jury’s recommendation, he wrote in a letter to officials that “Mayola’s tendencies toward sexual perversion make him a constant menace if he is ever released. The jury sentenced him to life imprisonment, and he should be kept there as punishment.”
Mayola, whose prison term began Nov. 16, 1962, has now served 58 years, two months, and seven days of his life sentence.
“To protect all children, this inmate must be denied parole so that no other child has to endure what Larry Thomas had to endure,” Casey continued. “For the horrific acts that he perpetuated on Larry, the Thomas family, and the local communities, he does not deserve to be called by his name. He should always be known as Inmate #00085173- the monster who killed Larry Wayne Thomas. As District Attorney of Blount County, I am entrusted with the duty to seek justice for the citizens for the county I serve. Seeking justice does not begin or end with a conviction. Seeking justice encompasses much more. Seeking justice means not only supporting the family of victims, but ensuring that protection of other citizens.”