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Second man convicted in 2008 Herndon murder

A Fairfax County jury convicted a second man of murder Tuesday in the November 2008 slaying of Erika Yancey, who was repeatedly slashed and stabbed outside her car in the garage of her Herndon area apartment complex. The jury then recommended a sentence of 20 years in prison.

The jury deliberated over parts of three days before convicting Michael Thomas Jr., 28, of first-degree murder. Thomas was a friend of Marcus Williams, who also was convicted of first-degree murder by a separate jury last month, and also sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Williams had been living with his girlfriend, Ellen Phillips, and their two small children in the Camden-Dulles apartment complex on Dulles Station Boulevard. Phillips testified that she began a relationship with Yancey, whom she first met online, and that Yancey moved in with them in summer 2008.

On Nov. 16, 2008, Yancey disappeared, and blood was found in the Camden-Dulles garage. Clothes with Yancey's blood were found in the complex's trash dumpster. DNA testing later found that both Williams's and Thomas's DNA were on the clothes with Yancey's blood. Yancey was found inside her car, a short distance away, three days later.
Both Williams and Thomas maintained their innocence and were released on bond pending trial. But neither testified in their own defense.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  June 1, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , From the Courthouse , Homicide , Updates  
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I want to thank again, the law enforcement personnel involved especially the detectives , the victims specialist assigned to our family and the judicial system for their tireless job of assisting in the procescution of those responsible for Erika's death. However, I find it incredulous that a jury can imprison a person for a mandatory 25 years for selling drugs in a school zone, but only recommend 20 years for taking brutally a persons life. That a defense lawyer has the audacity to stand before a court and cry (literally) about how much of the defendants life the defendant will be missing if they are given 20 years or more. I realize that there are times that murder is committed in the heat of the moment, but when murder is premeditated and brutal, I feel that the judicial system should impose a stricter sentencing minimum than 20 years. Recently MD passed a law that states that if a violent felony is carried out and the person is in a gang, then 20 years is attached to whatever sentence is imposed. The federal law sentences a person selling drugs to a minimum of 25 years. What is a human life worth? Why aren't the 'Right to Life' crusaders fighting for the life of those that are living, that have their lives taken? How can persons who are charged with a crime use tax payers money to defend themselves, yet walk around until their day in court on bond? What did Erika do to Marcus Williams and Micheal Thomas that they felt that they had to sentence her to death? These are questions that I have in my heart and know that to some of these I will never have the answer. However, I hope that we as a civilized society rethink the sentences we impose and get our priorities straight. Human life has value!

Posted by: jacquelinegoodall | June 4, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

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