MURDER USA: Ronaj Henderson shot to death; UPDATE – Janeal Thompson convicted, will go back to prison for decades

Janeal Jerome Thompson gets decades in prison for murder

LA PLATA, MD—Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West sentenced Janeal Jerome Thompson, 27, of Bryans Road, to 65 years for the First-Degree Murder of Ronarj Henderson and related charges. Thompson received an additional 12 years in prison for violating probation in two unrelated cases and 1 year in prison for a separate Possession of Heroin charge.

“This is a sad event with four young people doing drugs in a car. – I’ve yet to see, until this case, someone shot while they’re asleep. The victim was shot for really no reason. This was beyond a murder – this was an execution.” – Circuit Court Judge H. James West

On August 5, 2019, after a 6-day trial in front of a Charles County jury, Thompson entered a guilty plea in Charles County Circuit Court to the aforementioned charges before the jury announced their verdict.


On November 2, 2018, detectives with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation of the victim’s murder after receiving a report that he was possibly shot and killed by Thompson a few days prior. It was also reported that Thompson’s girlfriend at the time, co-defendant Sarah Elizabeth Defilippo and co-defendant Steven Tyler Danielson were present during the murder.

During the drive, Thompson, who was seated directly behind the victim, produced a handgun and shot the victim in the head while he was still sleeping.

The investigation revealed that during the evening hours of October 27, 2018, Thompson aggressively put his hand on Defilippo’s face in the presence of the victim. When the victim and defendants returned to Thompson’s home later that evening, the victim told Defilippo that she deserved to be treated better. Defilippo then went to sleep inside of the residence, while Thompson, Danielson, and the victim slept in a vehicle outside. The following morning, Defilippo entered the vehicle with the three men and drove to a gas station. The victim was asleep in the front passenger seat of the vehicle at the time. Thompson became angry after Defilippo disclosed the comments the victim made the prior night. During the drive, Thompson, who was seated directly behind the victim, produced a handgun and shot the victim in the head while he was still sleeping. Thompson then threw a jacket over the victim’s body while Defilippo continued to drive.

Defilippo was directed by Thompson to pick up co-defendant Eric Nolan Washington, who helped Thompson dispose of the victim’s body in a heavily wooded area of Smith Point Road in Nanjemoy. Before leaving, Thompson took the victim’s shoes, cell phone, and wallet. The victim was missing for several days before his murder was reported by a family member of Defilippo.
Thompson and Defilippo were apprehended together on November 2, 2018, in Arlington, Virginia. Defilippo confessed to witnessing Thompson kill the victim, which was corroborated by extensive evidence, including DNA evidence found on the gun and in the vehicle.

Defilippo, Danielson, and Washington previously entered guilty pleas in Charles County Circuit Court to Accessory after the Fact.

Prior to Thompson’s sentencing, Defilippo and Danielson received 5 years supervised probation. Washington received 3 years in prison.

During Thompson’s sentencing, Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Pettersen addressed the judge, “The defendant has to be held accountable for his actions. He has a history of violence. He’s a danger to the community. – He killed a man while he was sleeping. He should not be in the community with such violent tendencies; he killed a man who was supposed to be his friend.”

Before sentencing Thompson, Judge H. James West stated, “This is a sad event with four young people doing drugs in a car. – I’ve yet to see, until this case, someone shot while they’re asleep. The victim was shot for really no reason. This was beyond a murder – this was an execution.”

• First-Degree Murder
• Possession of a Firearm after Disqualifying Conviction
• Wear, Carry, and Transport of Handgun in a Vehicle
• Use of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime of Violence

MURDER USA: Ronaj Henderson found shot to death; ex-con Janeal Jerome Thompson faces homicide rap and held without bail in jail

BRYANS ROAD, MD. – It was a case of kill and run, says Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry.

Police say that after finding a missing man shot to death in the wilds of Bryans Road, in Charles County, Md., they began to track down a suspect in the case and found him on the lam in Virginia. Ironically between the time the alleged killer murdered the victim in Charles County, the ex-con was arrested in Prince Georges County on handgun charges and allowed to be freed from jail on bail.

On November 2, 2018, Charles County Sheriff’s detectives initiated an investigation into a possible missing person. Family members of Ronaj Cavon Henderson, 22, of Bryans Road, last saw him in the morning hours of October 27, 2018. Henderson recently lived at 7301 Friendship Road in Clinton, Md., at the time of a recent arrest.


Police say that during the course of the investigation, it was learned the victim had been shot in the area of Bryans Road by a person known to him and his body was left somewhere in western Charles County.

The investigation led detectives to the area of Riverside Road and Smith Point Road in Nanjemoy. On November 4, Henderson’s body was found in a wooded area. Based on additional information, detectives identified the suspect as Janeal Jerome Thompson, 26, of 2109 Boxwood Circle, Bryans Road, Md.

Thompson was located in Arlington, Va., on November 4, 2018, and was subsequently extradited to the Charles County Jail on November 7th where he was charged by Officer Jeffrey Feldman with first-degree murder and other related charges.

Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry in front of Sheriff’s Headquarters. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Police in Prince Georges County can stop looking for Henderson who was wanted on a warrant for indecent exposure. Prince Georges County Police Officer J. Fulda obtained the warrant on March 7, 2017, after Henderson failed to appear in District Court in Upper Marlboro, was jailed on May 10, 2018, released on May 15, 2018, and a new warrant filed when he missed a court date on July 3, 2018.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Det. J. Feldman at (301) 609-6474. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS.

Thompson has a court date coming up on Dec. 4, 2018. A bail bond hearing on Nov. 8, 2018, resulted in the Judge ordering Thompson kept in the Charles County Jail without bond.



Accused killer Janeal Jerome Thompson, ex-con, a gunman, armed robbery allowed bail on gun rap prior to the murder charge
Charles County States Attorney Anthony Covington.
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY Audible Edition Vol 11 No 2 perfect for commuters for keeping up with crime news

Thompson was charged with felony possession of a handgun on Oct. 30, 2018, by PG County Police and possession of a gun by a person who had previously been convicted of a crime involving a firearm. Thompson was allowed bail in PG County District Court instead of being held on the serious firearm charges – on Oct. 31, 2018. Taxpayers of Maryland will be delighted to know that they will be paying Laura Novello, the public defender in Hyattsville to spring him on the gun rap in PG.

In a plea deal to a dozen counts of indictments for armed robbery, false imprisonment, burglary, theft, conspiracy and robbery on June 3, 2011, in Charles County Circuit Court; Thompson got a sweet plea deal from the Charles County States Attorney Anthony Covington. In the plea deal, Thompson entered a guilty plea to robbery and all other charges were dropped, sparing Covington from having to put on a trial in Circuit Court. THE DEAL: Ten years in prison with all ten years suspended and probation allowed. On another set of five indictments, in a plea deal on May 15, 2011, Thompson pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but 8 years suspended.  A warrant for violation of parole was issued on Feb. 21, 2018. In spite of his record of armed robbery, and his violation of parole, the Alice in Wonderland Maryland Judiciary deemed him eligible for bail on Oct. 31, 2018, at the same time he was sought for murder in Charles County.

Charles County States Attorney Covington agreed to a plea deal on April 26, 2010, when Thompson faced 7 counts of a criminal indictment for armed robbery, robbery, assault, theft, and conspiracy to commit robbery. THE DEAL: Thompson entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 6 years in prison with all but 1 year suspended. The deal also allowed work release making Thompson available to pursue his career as an armed robber.

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