MURDER UPDATE: Bryans Road Man Sentenced to 78 Years in Prison After Shooting Sleeping Friend in Back of the Head

October 30, 2019
Janeal Jerome Thompson, 26, of Bryans Road

Janeal Jerome Thompson, 26, of Bryans Road

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.

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.

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

UPDATE 11/9/2018 @ 9:15 a.m.: Court documents stated that Janeal Jerome Thompson, 26, of Bryans Road, killed Ronaj Henderson, 22, of Bryans Road, by shooting him in the back of his head while he slept in a vehicle that was traveling on Livingston Road, in Bryans Road.

According to Charging documents, on Saturday, October 27, 2018, Thompson was at a party with his girlfriend and Ronaj Henderson, who goes by the nickname of “Psycho”.

While at the party, Thompson became aggressive with his girlfriend and Henderson told her that if she was with him, he would not treat her that way,

Thompson, his girlfriend and Henderson left the party together and drove to Thompson’s residence located on Boxwood Circle, in Bryans Road. The girlfriend was driving the vehicle, while Thompson sat in the rear right seat, and Henderson was seated in the front passenger seat.

While Henderson was still asleep in the front passenger seat of a vehicle at the Boxwood Circle address, the girlfriend told Thompson what Henderson said at the party. When Thompson heard what Henderson said to his girlfriend, he told her they needed to leave the residence to get gas.

After leaving the residence, Thompson took out a handgun, and shot Henderson in the back of the head, He then threw a cover over Henderson to prevent anyone from seeing him. They then drove to an address on Burns Street in Nanjemoy, where they picked up subject that court documents only refer to as “E”.

They then drove to a side road in Nanjemoy, where Thompson and “E” carried and dragged Henderson’s body into the woods.

On October 29, 2018, officers with the Prince George’s County Police Department, discovered Thompson sleeping in a white Chrysler 300 parked in the parking lot of the Accokeek Gas Station located on Bryan Point Road, in Accokeck. As officers approached the vehicle, they noticed a black handgun sitting in plain view on Thompson’s lap. Police were able to apprehend Thompson without incident, and seize a Glock 43 9mm handgun. Thompson was released from jail in Prince George’s County on November 1, 2018.

On November 2, 2018 information was provided to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office regarding an alleged murder and Thompson was named as the shooter. Later that night, detectives with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office learned Thompson was at an Apartment located at on Lee Highway, in Arlington, Virginia. Detectives from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Arlington Police Department responded to the area and located the white Chrysler 300 parked in the parking lot. Surveillance on the vehicle and apartment complex was conducted, and Thompson and the girlfriend were seen leaving with another male in a white Chevrolet Cruz passenger car. A traffic stop was conducted, and Thompson and his girlfriend were detained and transported to the Arlington Police Department Headquarters.

After Thompson was located in Arlington, he was extradited to the Charles County Detention Center on November 7, 2018, where he was charged with first-degree murder and other related charges.

In an Initial Appearance Questionnaire form filed in District Court, Janeal Thompson listed one of his current occupations as an Uber Driver.

11/8/2018: On November 2, Charles County Sheriff’s Office detectives initiated an investigation into a possible missing person.

Family members of Ronaj Henderson, 22, of Bryans Road, last saw him in the morning hours of October 27, 2018.

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 Bryans Road.

Thompson was located in Arlington, VA on November 4 and was subsequently extradited to the Charles County Detention Center on November 7 where he was charged with first-degree murder and other related charges.

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.

Janeal Jerome Thompson, 26, of Bryans Road

Janeal Jerome Thompson, 26, of Bryans Road