OKLAHOMA CITY – Emmanuel Thompson used to pace the sidelines at his son’s high school soccer games, berating the boy for his play so mercilessly that the coach had to ask him to leave. At home, Thompson smacked his son around and bullied him into focusing on nothing but his studies and soccer.
Later, Thompson’s anger flared again when his son disappointed him by getting kicked off his college team for breaking the rules.
Earlier this month, in what friends suggested was the tragic culmination of years of tension and resentment between father and son, Thompson – a physical education teacher and former soccer player himself – was found slain at his home, his body stuffed in a freezer.
And his son, Andrew Jude Thompson, 20, was jailed on suspicion of murder.
“We knew he had always had problems with his dad. I know for somebody to ball frustration up for so long …” high school friend Samantha Barrientes said, her voice trailing off.
Investigators said he stabbed and slashed his 48-year-old father to death, hid the body and used the man’s credit cards for a couple of weeks until the crime came to light. He was found hiding in the attic of his father’s home.
“He did confess,” The Village Police Chief Steve Jagosh said. “During the interview, he said they got into an altercation and that he stabbed him and hit him with an ax in self-defense.” Jagosh would not disclose what they argued about but said it was not soccer.
Police in The Village, a city surrounded by Oklahoma City, were alerted to the case on Dec. 4 by some of Andrew Thompson’s friends, who became suspicious because he was selling household items. The friends went snooping around the house and discovered the body in a freezer in the garage.
Police in The Village later found the corpse in the trunk of a car in the garage.
Jagosh said his officers had been called to the home numerous times in recent years because of fights between Emmanuel Thompson and either his ex-wife or his son.
Police arrested Emmanuel Thompson in 2003 on suspicion of hitting his son for “disobeying house rules and orders,” according to court documents. Emmanuel Thompson pleaded guilty to assault and battery and was let off without a jail sentence.
Emmanuel Thompson’s anger toward his son flared last year in the office of Michael DuRoy, the soccer coach at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, when the three met to discuss Andrew’s dismissal from the team for violating team rules.
“His dad came up to get him, and it was pretty heated,” recalled DuRoy, who would not specify the violations. “He was yelling at him pretty good, and Andrew just sat their like a dog that had been kicked. Andrew teared up at one point, and I knew it was a bad situation between the two.”
“I just think Emmanuel had unreal expectations of Andrew and put too much pressure on him and would not accept Andrew not living up to his expectations. I think Andrew felt like he could never please his dad.”
Barrientes, 19, who was a student manager for the high school soccer team, said there had always been tension between father and son.
“Andrew just said how much he didn’t like his dad and didn’t respect him because his dad didn’t treat him well,” she said. “A lot of times his dad wouldn’t want him to do anything but study and play soccer. He frowned upon him spending time with his friends.”
The father was a soccer coach at the Classen School of Advanced Studies, a magnet school for academically gifted students. Principal Ron Maxfield said Emmanuel Thompson played soccer professionally in England, but did not have details.
Barrientes said Andrew Thompson played drums and guitar in a heavy metal band called The Destroyers, another activity his father didn’t embrace. Andrew Thompson hinted about his troubles on his MySpace Web page, where he went by the name “Destroyer Andrew.”
“If my life is to be played out like this id rather end it right now!” he wrote last July. “It just eats away at ur heart when u try soo hard and it pretty much slaps u in the face.”