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Officer Says Suspect Talked of Lemon Heights Slayings

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

An Anaheim woman admitted to her ex-boyfriend that she shot a Lemon Heights man and his 77-year-old mother before torching their mansion and stealing a red convertible parked in the driveway, an Orange County sheriff’s investigator testified Friday.

Tynickia Sherikia Thompson’s confession to killing John Tyler Hancock, 49, and his mother, Helen Bauerle Hancock, was caught on tape as part of an undercover operation, Investigator Bob Blackburn testified Friday.

The testimony came during a preliminary hearing for Thompson, 19, at Orange County Municipal Court in Santa Ana. She was ordered Friday to stand trial on two counts of murder, robbery, burglary and other charges. Thompson, who could face the death penalty if convicted, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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Blackburn testified that Thompson’s ex-boyfriend, Compton resident Dana Warren, agreed to be wired so that police could secretly record a conversation between him and Thompson, which led to Thompson’s May 24 arrest.

According to Blackburn, Thompson allegedly stole computer equipment and clothing from Hancock’s residence after the May 8 murders. Thompson then allegedly drove the red car to Long Beach, where it was found abandoned.

Initially, police suspected that Hancock’s criminal history of swindling lenders may have been linked to the murders.

But now prosecutors say the murderer is Thompson, who was Hancock’s girlfriend at the time and may have been upset over a financial dispute.

Thompson has also been charged with conspiracy related to an alleged plot between Thompson and inmate Danne Sunter--whom Thompson met while in jail on the murder charges--to force Hancock’s ex-girlfriend to confess to the murders. The pair allegedly also planned to assault and rob Warren in retaliation for aiding police, according to court records.

During the hearing, prosecutors submitted as evidence copies of documents found in Sunter’s cell, including a map of the ex-girlfriend’s home and letters planning the forced confession, allegedly written by Thompson.

Her arraignment on the murder and other felony charges has been set for March 4. Prosecutors said they have not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Thompson.


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