Thomas Woods Accused of Murdering Step-Brother at Fourth of July Family Get-Together

A family get-together at Tempe's Kiwanis Park on the Fourth of July ended with a man murdering his step-brother, police say.

According to police, 37-year-old Thomas Woods shot his step-brother, 33-year-old Martin Woods, as a result of an escalating fight between the two at the park, near Mill Avenue and Baseline Road.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, this altercation took place at the end of this family get-together, around 11:15 p.m.

Only one other family member reported seeing the actual gunshot, and that family member reported never seeing Martin Woods with any kind of weapon.

Another witness called police about a fight in the park, and possibly hearing a gunshot, but didn't actually see the gunshot, according to court documents.

Court documents state that police believe Thomas Woods also called 9-1-1 to report that his brother had been shot.

Police found both Woods brothers at the park, and Martin was hospitalized, but died the that morning around 3:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, Thomas Woods didn't admit to shooting his brother. Police didn't recover the murder weapon, but did find an empty holster on the driver's seat of his car, as well as a box of ammunition in the pocket of the driver's door, according to the court documents. The court documents indicate a "dried red substance" on Woods' shirt too, which police believe is blood.

Woods was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder, and he invoked his right to an attorney.

Court documents indicate Woods, a Laveen resident, has an "extensive crim[inal] history" including aggravated assault, assault on a police officer, assault on a minor, and domestic-violence assault. The court records indicate Woods has a history of failing to appear for court dates, and has served prison time.

Prison records show he served less than 10 months in the state prison system for aggravated assault.

A judge set Woods' bond at $1,000,000.

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