A Longwood man wanting to get his start in the child-pornography business planned to slash the throats of a mother and father so he could drug and rape their 9-year-old daughter, videotape their sex acts and then kill her, too, state law-enforcement agents said Friday.
Shawn Ryan Thomas, 29, was arrested Thursday night on charges of premeditated attempted homicide, attempted sexual assault of a child and 10 counts of possession of child pornography.
He told a police informant that the 9-year-old would be the first victim but that he planned to do the same thing over and over again and sell a DVD for $1,000, according to his arrest report.
During a brief court hearing Friday in Sanford, Seminole County Judge Jim DeKleva ordered Thomas held without bail.
Thomas said little during the proceeding, except that he had "not yet" hired an attorney. As the judge read each of the charges against him, Thomas shook his head as if to say no.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Daniel Warren said agents received tips in March that a man — later determined to be Thomas — was downloading child pornography.
But it wasn't until this week that agents learned Thomas allegedly tried to lure a 9-year-old girl and her parents to a vacant house in Longwood on June 7 — a case initially reported to Longwood police.
Thomas told the family he was a film student, was making an independent movie and wanted their daughter to appear in it, his arrest report said.
Thomas planned to kill the father first, using a knife to slash his throat, according to his arrest report, then do the same thing to the mother. Warren said that was so they wouldn't file a missing-child report about their daughter.
Once he had finished raping their daughter and video-recording it, Thomas indicated he would also then kill the girl, according to FDLE.
On June 7, Thomas met with his first intended target in Longwood, agents said, but instead of a father, mother and child, it was father, grandfather and child.
The arrest report said Thomas lured them to a vacant house on East Orange Avenue in Longwood, but the grandfather grew suspicious.
Earlier that day, the grandfather drove by the house and saw a "for sale" sign in the yard. Once they went inside the house, they discovered there was no furniture. In one room, there was plastic sheeting on the floor. In another room, there was a tripod.
Thomas was not arrested at that time.
His roommate, Anthony DeRosa, told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday that he recalls Thomas acted oddly June 7.
That day, Thomas showered, shaved, got dressed up, then left the house on foot with a bag, even though it was raining, DeRosa said.
The vacant house is less than a mile away.
When Thomas returned, "he was really quiet," DeRosa said.
Thomas stayed in his room the rest of the day. Throughout this week, DeRosa said, Thomas behaved the same way and didn't go to work.
Thomas had worked at an aquaponics business. He didn't have a car, and DeRosa said he was tech-savvy.
According to Thomas' Facebook page, he attended Edgewater High School and Lockhart Middle School.
He is a fan of politician Rand Paul, according to his Facebook page, as well as Samuel Adams beer and "The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer.
A check of Thomas' Florida criminal record shows only traffic violations.
Despite telling people he was working on a student film for Full Sail University, the school said it has no record of Thomas ever attending a class there and that he has no connection to the college.
DeRosa, who has been friends with Thomas for about nine years, said Thomas moved into his home about three weeks ago, saying he'd gotten into a fight with his father and needed to move out of his parents' Orlando-area home.
There was no indication, DeRosa said, that he was violent.
"This scares the crap out of me," he said.
When FDLE and Longwood police arrested Thomas, agents said, he had a knife, plastic sheets, zip ties, a camera and tripod and a sex toy.
Agents who searched his home on Lormann Circle found more plastic sheeting, a receipt for the sex toy and 10 pieces of child pornography, according to his arrest report.
The images showed children ages 4 and 5, and one showed a child of age 1 or 2, the report alleged.
Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Diane Checchio told reporters in Orlando on Friday that agents had gathered "a plethora" of evidence against Thomas. She intends to file additional charges against Thomas, and noted he faces potentially hundreds of years in prison.
Meanwhile, FDLE agents are continuing to investigate Thomas.
He tried to recruit girls using talent agencies and Craigslist, Warren said.
Thomas told a police informant that he had been plotting the abduction, rape and murders "for so long" and that once he had carried it out, he would do it again and again and would "not be able to stop."
He planned to sell a DVD showing a number of child rapes for $300 per chapter or $1,000 overall, according to the arrest report.
After his unsuccessful attempt June 7, Thomas complained to a friend that if he'd had an accomplice or a gun with a silencer, he could have pulled off his plan that day, according to his arrest report.
FDLE asks people with information about Thomas to notify the agency at 800-226-8521800-226-8521.