I-TEAM: Ex-boyfriend indicted on murder charges for 2015 killing of Springfield woman

SPRINGFIELD — Nearly six years after the shooting death of a Springfield woman while her children were at school, prosecutors have a break in the case and have officially charged her ex-boyfriend for the crime.

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Candance Prunty was 26-years-old when she was found shot to death inside her West Mulberry Street home in October 2015. But the case turned cold and remained unsolved for years.

In 2018, News Center 7′s James Brown talked to Prunty’s family about the cold case, where family members said she had just broken up with a man months before her murder.

That ex-boyfriend, Thomas Albert, was indicted by a Clark County grand jury Monday on charges that include aggravated murder, murder, tampering with evidence, and having a weapon under disability.

Albert had been a suspect in the crime from the beginning, however police were just able to get a break in the case that led to the indictment this week, Springfield police Detective Ronald Jordan told News Center 7′s John Bedell.

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Jordan said evidence they had since the day of Prunty’s murder led to the break in the case, thanks to some advanced technology.

“What happened was, cellphone technology and electronics evolved – the technology evolves rapidly just about every day. Early on in the investigation, we obtained information but again with the advancements in technology, we were able to see things now and paint a clearer picture of what happened back in 2015,” Jordan said.

Prunty had broke up with Albert in the summer of 2015, following a short relationship spanning a few months, Jordan said. Further investigation by Springfield police led investigators to believe his motive for killing her was because he was upset about the breakup.

“Yeah, that’s what we’ve gathered during the course of this investigation. Again, this individual was upset. He wanted to be with her, she didn’t want to be with him. She tried to pull away and end the relationship but he didn’t want to do that,” Jordan said.

“When we arrived at the scene, the injuries that we saw, the nature of this crime led us to believe that it was something personal. Someone was very upset over something and essentially took it out on our victim.”

Albert is currently in prison in Ohio following a conviction on an attempted murder charge in Columbus in 2018. Based on his previous conviction, court records indicate he isn’t eligible for parole until 2045.

However, if he’s convicted in the death of Prunty, he could spend the rest of his life in prison, but he will not be eligible for the death penalty.

“Not in this case. But this will be a chance for him to spend the rest of his life in prison. We looked at the aggravated murder because we believed there was prior calculation and design in this case. Basically, that he planned this murder out,” Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll told Bedell.

Driscoll praised the work of Springfield police for their investigation that led to the charges and indictment this week.

“One of the things we always tell the families of our victims when we have cold cases is, don’t give up hope — that we continue to work these cases. And I really, I’ve got to thank the detectives in the Springfield Police Division who didn’t give this up. They continued to work this case hoping that we would get just this kind of break.”

Patricia Beard, Prunty’s mother talked with Bedell Tuesday, said she felt a partial sense of closure with news of the indictment.

“And when they speak of closure, I don’t know if that’s the word that I would want to use. Because even if he is in prison for the rest of his life, it will never bring my daughter back,” Beard said.

“But for this moment and this information that he has been charged, justice is finally going to be brought to this family. And it means I can’t even – the word – I can’t even search for the word that we are feeling. Overjoyed. A lot of tears. A lot of hugs.”

We’ll continue to update this story as we learn more.