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- "Come back here you slut! It's time to get your medicine, you fucking whore!"
- —Thomas Richards while attempting to kill Andrea.[src]
Thomas Richards is a character and an antagonist first encountered in Issue 13 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead. He is a convict who survived the initial stages of the undead apocalypse trapped inside The Prison cafeteria, along with Axel, Dexter, and Andrew. He served as the primary antagonist of Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars.
Characteristics and Role
Even though he died quite soon after his introduction, Thomas' role was partly significant. As a minor antagonist to the survivors, he exposed the biggest threat to stability in a zombie apocalypse: fellow survivors. The survivors had not encountered many violent or extremely dangerous humans before their arrival at The Prison, and as such, were unprepared for the deceitfully insane but crafty Thomas impressed upon the group. Although his personality was hidden due to his quiet nature, he was soon exposed as a bloodthirsty psychopath, as shown from his horrific obsession with decapitating people, evident by his murders of the Greene twins and attempted murder of Andrea and Patricia. Before they realized he was a psychopath, he seemed to be a quiet person, who was described as "nerdy" as well as nice, as he helped the women with their laundry and such.
Before the outbreak, Thomas was caught red-handed for the murder of his wife, as he was found and apprehended by the police in the process of cutting her body to pieces to cover up the murder. After being sentenced, he was driven to West Central Prison by a Police Officer. On the drive down, Thomas kicked and twisted in his seat "like a fussy baby on an airplane", as the officer puts it, and repeatedly insisted upon his innocence, crying and yelling, "Mama, it's all a big mistake! It wasn't me!" This is narrated by the police officer to Lee Everett, as he recalled that Thomas was "one of the worst" he had ever transported. The officer speculated that Thomas had fooled himself into believing that he didn't actually kill anyone.
He, along with Axel, Dexter, and Andrew were found by Rick Grimes and Tyreese in the cafeteria of The Prison, which was barricaded by a police baton and a few of the prison guards. The four convicts explained their isolated survival attributed to the wealth of food and supplies that was meant to feed the entire prison population for weeks. When each of the four introduced themselves, Thomas claimed he was put into jail for tax evasion. Along with his three fellow inmates, Thomas was less vocal and didn't share much else in his initial introduction. Compared to the revelation of Dexter's murderous past or Axel's armed robbery charges, Thomas seemed less of a threat than the other convicts.
Not much was seen of Thomas in the short time the convicts had total freedom alongside the survivors. However, he was actively featured interacting with the other survivors more than the distrustful Dexter and awkward Andrew. He helped Lori Grimes and the women move their belongings into the cells and other general tasks. He also spoke to Patricia with an abnormal level of etiquette. These positive exchanges gave Thomas a favorable impression initially. However, it soon became apparent he was actually a homicidal lunatic.
The grotesque decapitation of Susie Greene and Rachel Greene caught the survivors off-guard. Lori and the others quickly accused Dexter of being the killer because of his murder conviction. While the survivors focused on the wrong person, Thomas continued his spree with his sights set on Andrea, who was alone in the laundry room. He attempted to cut her head off but instead only managed to slice Andrea's face and earlobe. Andrea managed to escape to the grounds of the penitentiary, and Thomas followed her outside with his knife proclaiming his desire to kill her.
Rick witnessed Andrea flee. In a fit of absolute fury, Rick disarmed Thomas and proceeded to brutally beat him with his fists. Although Lori tried to stop him, it was only after Tyreese physically intervened that Rick stopped. Thomas was beaten nearly to the point of death, with his body and face being severely broken and mangled.
While Rick confronted the shocked community on hanging Thomas and why it needed to be done, Thomas was isolated in a cell. Patricia, who had only a positive perception of the man as merely troubled, attempted to break him out. Unfortunately, she misjudged his insanity, and even in his severely weakened state, Thomas tried to kill her immediately. Hearing the commotion, the vengeful Maggie Greene saved Patricia's life when she unloaded her entire side-arm's magazine into Thomas.
Later, at the request of Hershel, Thomas' corpse is thrown to the zombie hordes outside of the prison, where it's ripped apart by the masses.
After having killed her sisters, Rachel and Susie, and trying to kill Andrea and Patricia, Maggie shoots Thomas several times in the back.
This list shows the victims Thomas has killed:
- "We're going to hang him."
- —Rick to the group about Thomas. [src]
- "Never did trust him."
- —Dexter to Rick about Thomas. [src]
- —Thomas to Patricia. [src]
- "I will let the lord be your judge."
- —Hershel to Thomas.[src]
- "So l could cut off your head."
- —Thomas threatening Andrea.[src]
- Issue 20 (Corpse)
- Robert Kirkman revealed Thomas was originally planned to stab the pregnant Lori Grimes in the stomach, killing the baby.
- Thomas is referenced in the The Walking Dead Video Game by the unnamed Police Officer.
- Thomas is the only named survivor to be directly killed by Maggie Greene.
- In Issue 20, a zombie gets his intestine caught on Thomas' corpse and falls.