English Thomas, getaway driver in Sandra Hackley slaying in Yonkers, gets 25 years to life
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The Long Island man who drove the getaway truck after the execution-style killing of a Yonkers woman in her apartment in 2010 was sentenced Monday to 25 years to life in prison.
In February a Westchester County Court jury convicted English Thomas, 29, of Uniondale, of second-degree murder for his role in the shooting death of Sandra Hackley, 37, a married mother of two girls.
Thomas' accomplices, Charles Parsley, 29, and Kasaun White, 30, both of Rockville Centre, were convicted in March 2012 and each sentenced to 75 years to life in prison. District Attorney Janet DiFiore and the Yonkers Police Department -- who investigated the case -- said Parsley and White were gunmen who were lying in wait for Hackley the night she was killed.
Investigators never figured out the motive behind the well-planned April 21, 2010, killing of Hackley. Both Hackley's husband, Rafael Cornielle, 34, and her 12-year-old daughter were wounded that night in an encounter with gunmen inside the family's Yonkers Avenue apartment.
The killers were waiting for Hackley when she and her family returned home shortly before 7:30 p.m. Dressed as a UPS deliveryman, White fooled Hackley into opening her apartment door. He and Parsley then burst through the door and began firing. Hackley was shot five times and died at the scene.
Cornielle was shot in the arm, chest and leg, but survived. Hackley's daughter suffered a gunshot wound to her leg, but she, too, survived. Authorities have not released the girl's name.
Prosecutors and investigators said Hackley was the target of a professional hit and that nothing was taken from the apartment.
Security cameras at the apartment building on the night of the shootings captured footage of Parsley pacing nervously in the lobby before the murder. Cameras also showed the gunmen fleeing through the front door of the apartment building, where witnesses saw them get into a dark-colored pickup truck with Thomas at the wheel.
Thomas' lawyer, Gregory Watts of Brooklyn, argued that none of the camera images showed Thomas behind the wheel and that the evidence against his client was inconclusive and circumstantial.
"No DNA, no fingerprints, no bloodstains, nothing that puts my client at the location," Watts said during the trial's closing arguments.
Watts did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.