WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It was undoubtedly one of the most horrific murders in Wilmington history. The body of a disemboweled woman was found in a wooded area off Shipyard Boulevard, February 22, 1990. It would turn out to be a 32-year old woman named Talana Kreeger.
The openly gay woman met her killer in a lesbian bar called the Park View Grill, now known as the Dubliner Irish Pub, across the street from Greenfield Lake. Ronald Thomas, a truck driver, was in Wilmington to deliver fruit to Hoggard High School. Hours after meeting Kreeger, Thomas would call his minister from a truck stop on I-95 to confess to a vicious and brutal murder.
Thomas manually disemboweled Kreeger and left her to die in the woods. Police reports suggested the two got into an argument over her sexual orientation inside Thomas’ big rig, which led to Kreeger’s heinous murder.
The horrific story is the focus of a documentary that will premiere on the 30th anniversary of Kreeger’s death. Park View will spotlight the life and death of Kreeger, the impact hate crimes have on our community, and the challenges those of the LGBTQ community face.
Tab Ballis, the producer of the documentary, has been working on the Park View Project for 15 years. He says he was inspired to do it because no one else would and he thought it was a story that needed to be told.
“I just felt compelled,” says Ballis. “I heard this story in 1990 like many people. Once you hear it, you can’t unhear it and so I have felt compelled to make sure this story gets told.”
Ballis, who is a clinical social worker, says its important to have an open dialogue about crimes committed against LGBTQ people since North Carolina's hate crime statute does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity.
Park View premieres Saturday, February 22 at 7 p.m. at Church of the Good Shephard at 515 Queen St. It is free and open to the public.