Austin woman pleads not guilty to murder, drug charges

Published 10:37 am Thursday, September 15, 2022

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Yashica Shenay Thomas, 43, who has been charged with murder in the March overdose of an Austin man, has entered pleas in the case.

Thomas entered pleas of not guilty in Mower County District Court Thursday morning to a felony count of third degree murder, second degree manslaughter culpable negligence, and five felony drug counts including sales and possession.

According to the court complaint, Thomas is accused of selling drugs to the 22-year-old on March 8 of this year. The man later overdosed at his mother’s home, who also discovered him. Both the family and Mayo Ambulance paramedics attempted life-saving measures, but the man was pronounced dead at around 10:11 p.m.

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An autopsy later concluded that the death was a result of “acute toxic effects of fentanyl.”

Drug paraphernalia was discovered in the victim’s room, the bathroom and the victim’s wallet.

Messages retrieved from the victim’s cellphone showed the male in contact with Thomas the day before on March 7 and on March 8.

Detectives later obtained a search warrant for Thomas’ residence in the 2700 block of Third Avenue SW where they discovered tin foil folds with suspected fentanyl and other items indicative of the sale of fentanyl.

When questioned, Thomas allegedly admitted to selling drugs “to make a little extra money,”  and also admitted it was a way of avoiding using so much of it herself.

She also allegedly admitted to selling the victim drugs “once or twice,” before confirming the latest incident was in March of 2022.

Thomas’ next court appearance is a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 26, 2023.