Tevin Biles-Thomas, brother of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, has been charged in connection with a 2018 triple homicide in Cleveland, Ohio. Biles-Thomas, 24, was arrested on August 29 in Georgia and is currently housed in the Liberty County Jail.
The active-duty soldier is stationed at Ft. Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia but is awaiting extradition to Ohio. He is scheduled to appear before a judge in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Appeals September 13.
After an eight-month investigation, Biles-Thomas was taken into custody by Georgia authorities and charged with six counts of murder, three counts of voluntary manslaughter, five counts of felonious assault and one count of perjury. He is currently the only person charged so far.
“The investigators within the Cleveland Police Homicide Unit remained committed to securing an arrest in this tragic case,” Cleveland Division of Police Chief Calvin Williams said, reported Cleveland.com. “We appreciate our partnership with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and are confident that their efforts will bring justice for the families affected by this terrible incident.”
“The relentless persistence of Cleveland Police Homicide detectives helped secure an indictment in this case,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Tevin Biles-Thomas is Accused of Killing Three People & Injuring Two
The incident occurred during a New Year’s Eve party at an apartment rented out through Airbnb. The second-floor unit was above Lovellee’s Grub Pub, a pizzeria located on the 4400 block of Denison Avenue in Cleveland.
At approximately 11:45 p.m., several uninvited men showed up and were told to leave. According to a joint statement released by the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office, “an altercation ensued,” followed by gunfire.
Delvante Johnson, 19 and Toshaun Banks, 21, were pronounced dead at the scene. Devaughn Gibson, 23, was rush to the MetroHealth Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner noted that all three men died from multiple gunshot wounds.
A woman who was shot was treated at the hospital and released. A male victim was shot in the back of the head and rushed to the hospital by friends.
Investigators said the suspects fled the scene and no weapons were recovered.
2. Tevin Biles-Thomas & His Three Siblings Were Adopted by Relatives
Tevin Biles-Thomas is one of four children born to Shanon Biles. Drug and alcohol abuse resulted in Shanon’s children being placed in foster care. “She was in and out of jail,” Simone Biles recalled on a video autobiography that appeared on the television show “Dancing with the Stars.”
Around 2000, Simone and Sister Adria were taken in and adopted by her grandparents and Shannon’s father and stepmother, Ron and Nellie Biles. Simone and Adria were raised in the Houston, Texas suburb of Spring. Tevin and sister Ashley were adopted by Ron Biles’ sister, Harriet Thomas, and lived in Cleveland. Harriet died in 2017 at the age of 77.
Simone’s website biography only mentions her adoptive parents’ older children, Ron Jr., and Adam, as siblings.
3. Tevin Biles-Thomas is an Army Specialist Serving at Ft. Stewart, Georgia
Tevin Biles-Thomas attended John F. Kennedy High School and graduated from St Martin de Porres High School in Cleveland in 2013. His Facebook page states that he joined the U.S. Army in 2014.
Biles-Thomas is currently serving as an army specialist at Ft. Stewart. According to the U.S. Army website, an enlisted soldier can be promoted to the rank of specialist after serving for two years and attending a training class. A specialist can also manage lower-ranked soldiers.
Ft. Stewart was a mobilization area for soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq. The base also serves as a training ground for the National Guard.
4. Simone Biles Tweeted Several Cryptic Messages After Her Brother’s Arrest
Shortly after Tevin Biles-Thomas’ arrest, Simone Biles tweeted two messages. “[L]et people assume incorrectly,” read a tweet dated August 28. “[E]ating my feelings don’t talk to me,” read the second.
The two siblings appeared to have a good relationship. The petite Simone tweeted several humorous photos of she and tall Tevin standing together. “[M]y brother Tevin. [E}veryone says we look like twins but we don’t see it,” she wrote in September 2017.
Although the two were raised separately, Biles-Thomas appears to have be fond of his famous sister and follows Simone’s gymnastics achievements on her Facebook fan page.
5. The Airbnb Guests Had Violated an Agreement Prohibiting Parties at the Apartment
The Airbnb listing for the unit where the shooting took place clearly stated that parties were prohibited, but the policy was ignored by the apartment’s guests. After the murders, the property was de-listed on Airbnb’s website and the Airbnb host was permanently banned from its popular home-sharing site.
Cleveland had enacted short-term housing regulations in 2016 that included taxing Airbnb guests staying in Cleveland and requiring Airbnb hosts to pay a $35 fee to be added to the city’s registry of approved short-term rentals if they were booking a property for more than 91 days per year. The individual who listed the property on Airbnb had not complied.
In March 2018, approximately nine months before the shooting, Cleveland Councilman Anthony Brancatelli proposed a moratorium on allowing short-term rentals after receiving complaints from constituents about illegal and nuisance activities. Brancatelli said the 2016 regulations were too difficult to enforce.