Thomas Clayton, who played hockey for the Elmira Jackals between 1998 and 2002, went on to work as a project manager for ServPro, a company that helps repair damaged properties. He and his wife Kelley lived a happy life together, sharing two children: a daughter and a son.
But as police began to dig deeper into their murder investigation, the evidence pointed to a cold-blooded murder-for-hire plot. Cellphone data showed that he had been in contact with Michael Beard in the days leading up to the killing. Several women also testified that Thomas had sexual affairs with them and that he often complained about his wife being lazy and ungrateful. He was even apprehensive about divorce because he knew that Kelley would take his money and his home.
On the night of Kelley's murder, he was at a poker game, using a woman's phone to make a call just before he went to his wife's house. When he arrived, he found Kelley's body in the kitchen.
The pair were both convicted of first-degree murder in 2017, with Thomas being sentenced to life and Beard to life in prison without parole.
Both are currently at Sing Sing Prison, serving their sentences. They've exhausted their appeals. But their families and friends still believe that they're innocent, and they'll continue to fight for them. In fact, a lawyer for the ex-hockey player filed his first motion for a new trial on Thursday.