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A Pennsylvania man who was allegedly stalking his pregnant ex-girlfriend is accused of gunning her down – firing at her multiple times as she struggled to flee – and then stopping for something to eat at a fast-food drive-thru, WCAU-TV reports.
Now, prosecutors have charged the perpetrator with two counts of first-degree murder: one count for killing the woman and another for the death of the unborn child. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Rafiq Thompson, 38, faces the charges in connection with the death of 31-year-old Tamara Cornelius in King of Prussia, near Philadelphia.
“What I can tell you is that it is chilling. It is a heinous killing of a young woman,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said, according to WCAU-TV.
Investigators say that Cornelius, a mother of three children who was 14 weeks pregnant, alleged that Thompson was “stalking” her and that he had been inundating her with calls and text messages, even though she hadn’t responded.
Thompson was the father of the unborn child, according to WPVI-TV, and Cornelius eventually agreed to meet him last Friday, April 8, at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant, even though she was hesitant to do so.
Cornelius and Thompson went into the restaurant together, but Thompson departed before their food was prepared. About 30 minutes later, Cornelius exited the restaurant and Thompson followed her in his car.
Cornelius drove to a gas station across the street. While she was pumping gas, Thompson allegedly drove up behind her, exited his car, and began talking with Cornelius.
He then shot her at least four times as Cornelius tried to run away, but she stumbled and fell to the ground, police say. Thompson reportedly stood over her body before fleeing in his vehicle.
Witnesses say they heard an argument before the gunshots.
After the shooting, Thompson allegedly went to a McDonald’s drive-through and ordered food. He also tried to discard the weapon by throwing it on the side of a road, but someone found it and contacted police.
Medics rushed Cornelius to Paoli Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 11:09 p.m.
Steele said he would seek life imprisonment for Thompson, a convicted felon who was out on parole, according to WCAU-TV. There is “clearly evil” in Thompson’s heart, Steele said, alleging that the defendant knew Cornelius was pregnant, WCAU-TV reports.
In addition to murder, Thompson is facing charges of illegal possession of a gun and other crimes in connection with the death of Cornelius.
Loved ones gathered on Thursday to honor Cornelius and shared their memories of her.
“She would help anybody. She loved people. She loved her kids. She always talked positive about anybody,” Davida Wells, Cornelius’ longtime friend, told WPVI-TV.
Latoya Cornelius said the shooting happened just as her cousin’s life was taking off.
“She just bought her first house. She was doing so good and was going in such a positive direction. It’s so sad this had to happen when she was thriving in her life,” said the victim’s cousin, Latoya Cornelius.
To report domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), visit www.thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
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[Feature Photo: Tamara Cornelius/Handout]
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