27 News EXCLUSIVE: "A demon got to him." - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

27 News EXCLUSIVE: "A demon got to him."


By Jeff Angileri - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- "Twanda was a very outgoing person. She was real sweet."

Veronica Anderson remembers her daughter, Twanda Thompson, as a strong, optimistic woman -- qualities she says, that were beginning to rub-off on her 7-month-old grandson, Jihad.

"He was so cute, just a little doll," Anderson said. "Every time I saw him, he would sit there and smile at me."

These happy images were shattered Wednesday, when police say husband and father James Larry went on a murderous rampage on the streets of Chicago.

Family members still can't believe it happened.

Thompson, 19, and Larry, 32, lived at a west side Madison apartment. Family members say there were no signs of abuse, or they didn't notice any.

The two had arguments like any married couple, they say, but nothing violent.

"Sometimes Twanda would get mad and smack him," Anderson said. "He'd say he's leaving, then he'd end up back with her. As far as abuse -- he never physically beat her with his fists or none of that."

James Larry's criminal record says differently. He recently served 45 days in jail for allegedly battering his wife in a Walmart parking lot.

Twanda's outgoing nature likely made her a target. Family members say Larry, a devout Muslim, always carried a Koran and wanted Twanda to wear traditional Muslim clothing.

She refused.

"He preferred for her to wear it," Anderson said. "She said no, she's not wearing nothing."

Family members say the couple argued Tuesday, before to visit family in Chicago.

The next day, they heard James murdered four people -- his wife Twanda and her unborn child, his 7-month-old son Jihad, his 3-year-old niece Keleasha Larry, and his 16-year-old niece Keyshai Fields and her unborn child.

Larry also admitted to police he shot his mother, Leona Larry, and his 13-year-old nephew Demond Larry. As of Sunday, both are in critical condition in a Chicago hospital.

"What man in their right state of mind could do something like that? said Anderson. "They talk about mental issues. No! There was nothing wrong with him!"

"A demon got to him, cause that wasn't him," said Shirina Thompson, Twanda's sister. "It was a demon that tricked him to kill his family."

Prosecutors in Chicago have filed murder charges against Larry. His bail was denied Friday.

Now, 200 miles away from the carnage, Thompson's family has set up a memorial outside their west side apartment-- complete with photographs, flowers, balloons, and teddy bears -- to honor those lost.

Anderson said, "Twanda will always be looking down on all of us. She's in heaven now."

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