Man charged in killing of Laurel couple - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Man charged in killing of Laurel couple

Posted: Updated:
Thurston Lamont Yerby Thurston Lamont Yerby
James Vell Ferguson James Vell Ferguson
Tina Towler Tina Towler

Prince George's County police have made an arrest in the murder of a man and woman beaten and stabbed to death in front of the woman’s severely disabled daughter.

Investigators say Thurston Yerby killed James Ferguson and Tina Towler in their Laurel apartment last May.

It took a few months but investigators said Friday that Yerby’s fingerprints and DNA were found on multiple items inside the apartment on Muirkirk Road where the couple was killed. Some of those items included materials used to clean up the crime scene.

It is evidence that was crucial in closing the case since the only surviving witness was physically unable to tell police what happened.

When Prince George's County police stepped inside Towler's apartment on May 2, they found a disturbing, bloody scene.

Towler and Ferguson were dead. They were viciously beaten and stabbed to death in front of her 25-year-old disabled daughter.

"The daughter was in a location where it would be reasonable that she would have been able to either witness the homicide or a portion thereof, but as we have already articulated, there is a question of communicating with the victim’s daughter," said Major Cesar Pacheco.

It was a small apartment and investigators say Ferguson and Towler both put up a fight.

Over what? Well, that is still not quite clear.

"At this point, the exact motive is unclear, but we think that the romantic relationship played some sort of involvement," said Julie Parker, the police department’s Director of Media Relations.

A search of online court records in Maryland shows Yerby has been arrested numerous times for assault, including domestic assault. He has also faced robbery charges in the past.

He was picked up in the District Thursday morning during a traffic stop.

"There is DNA evidence that connects the suspect to that location at that time,” said Major Pacheco. “What specifically it was on, we are not going to elaborate. Now as far as the suspect cleaning, there were items located at the scene that suggest the suspect attempting to clean himself at the scene, but to go further, we are not going to elaborate.”

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Yerby told police he knew both Ferguson and Towler, but had never been inside their apartment.

Investigators say in addition to the DNA and fingerprints, they have footage from a surveillance camera showing Yerby’s truck coming into the apartment complex the morning of the murder.

Yerby is now locked up in the District and will go before a judge Monday morning.

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