Woman charged with murder, manslaughter and drug sales in second overdose case

Published 1:17 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

An Austin woman charged with murder, manslaughter and drug sales in the case of man’s overdose death last March, has been charged in a second case.

Yashica Shenay Thomas, 43, made a first appearance in Mower County District Court Friday morning to face charges of third degree murder, second degree manslaughter culpable negligence and second degree drug sales in a park zone in connection to a woman’s overdose death in May of last year.

Yashica Shenay Thomas

Thomas is currently in Mower County Jail for the first case in which she was charged with the same three charges in connection to an overdose death on March 8, 2022.

Thomas was arrested in late August last year and subsequently pleaded not guilty to the three charges for that first case.

In this newest case, court documents say that Thomas allegedly sold the victim drugs twice on May 21 and May 22. An autopsy later confirmed that the victim died due to the toxic effects of fentanyl and that fentanyl was detected in the victim’s blood.

Court documents state that police were called to a residence in the 1100 block of Second Avenue SW for a report of a 22-year-old female who was not breathing and was purple.

An officer first on the scene noted that the victim was warm to the touch, but could not find a pulse either radial or carotid. He began CPR until Mayo Ambulance and the Austin Fire Department arrived on scene and took over, however, paramedics later pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

A witness interviewed at the scene said that the last time they had contact with the victim alive was late in the afternoon on May 22, around 4 p.m., when they ran errands. The witness later found the victim unresponsive in the bathroom and called 911.

The responding officer observed multiple pieces of tin foil near a waste basket with burnt residue on them. A cellphone collected at the scene showed an active Facebook Messenger and messages allegedly sent to Thomas.

The victim’s Cash App account also reflected a $50 payment to Thomas on May 21 and a second payment of $43 on May 22.

The court complaint states that detectives interviewed Thomas on Aug. 30, the same day she was questioned about the first case.

A search warrant was executed at the residence in the 2700 block of Third Avenue SW. Detectives found foils for smoking heroin/fentanyl and fentanyl packages in foil. Thomas also allegedly admitted that fentanyl was located in her bedroom along with methamphetamine and cocaine.

During the questioning, Thomas 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. The court complaint also states that Thomas admitted she sold the female victim drugs on May 22, 2022, the day she died and that she thought the victim was buying them for somebody else.

Thomas’ next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 19, however, she is also scheduled for a jury trial on Feb. 6 for the previous case.