English Thomas guilty in 2010 Yonkers murder of Sandra Hackley
A Long Island man who drove the getaway truck after the killing of a Yonkers woman during a 2010 home invasion was convicted of the murder Friday, officials said.
English Thomas, 29, of Uniondale, was convicted of second-degree murder and three other felony counts for his role in the murder of Sandra Hackley and the shootings of her husband Rafael Cornielle and their 12-year-old daughter, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said.
The jury's verdict was announced at Westchester County Court in White Plains. Thomas will be sentenced May 21 and faces a maximum of 25 years to life in state prison on the murder conviction, officials said.
He is the third and final defendant convicted in Hackley's shooting death. The gunmen, Charles Parsley, 28, and Kasaun White, 30, both of Rockville Centre on Long Island, were convicted in March 2012 and are serving 75-year sentences in state prison.
Hackley, 37, was killed about 7:30 p.m. on April 21, 2010, when Parsley and White pushed their way into her Yonkers Avenue apartment and began shooting.
White dressed as a UPS deliveryman in order to fool Hackley and her husband into opening the front door for them.
Hackley was shot five times and died of her wounds at the scene.
Cornielle, now 34, survived bullet wounds to his arm, chest and leg and fled onto the street. The couple's daughter, whose name authorities did not release, was shot once in the leg.
Almost three years after the murder, prosecutors still don't know why the men targeted Hackley and her family. They acknowledged the killers specifically targeted Hackley but never identified a motive. Parsley and White did not take anything from the family's apartment after the shootings.
Cornielle testified in January, during the more than three-week trial, showing the jury his scars and recounting the events of the night his wife died.
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 and flee with Thomas at the wheel, officials said.
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.
In a statement after the verdict, DiFiore congratulated Yonkers police for solving the case.
"Innovative crime scene analysis and forensic work and continued shoe-leather investigative work encompassing the metropolitan area by the detectives of the Yonkers Police Department are what led to the convictions of the first two defendants and today's conviction of the third," DiFiore said.