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Woman, 78, found guilty in boyfriend’s killing



A 78-year-old Maryland woman was convicted of second-degree murder Wednesday in the shooting death of her 62-year-old boyfriend at a Spotsylvania County campground last spring.

Lillian Mae Levy of Mechanicsville, Md., entered guilty pleas on the murder charge and a count of use of a firearm in the commission of a murder in the April 27 shooting of James Thomas of Essex County.

As part of a plea agreement, a first-degree murder charge against Levy was reduced in exchange for her guilty plea. Her sentence will not exceed 20 years because of her age, lack of any prior criminal record, poor health and potential geriatric parole issues.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 1.

According to the plea agreement signed by Levy, she called security guards at Wilderness Presidential Resorts off State Route 3 around 6 a.m., saying that Thomas was bleeding from the head and crying out in pain.

Thomas underwent emergency surgery at Mary Washington Hospital, where they discovered he had a small-caliber gunshot wound behind his right ear. He died 12 days later as a result of massive brain injury, court records show.

Bullet fragments consistent with a .22-caliber gun were recovered from his brain both at the hospital and posthumously by the medical examiner, records show.

In earlier court testimony from Spotsylvania detectives Twyla Demoranville and Earl Swift, Levy first told investigators that she had left Thomas in the camper that they shared every weekend around 11 p.m. the night before and returned before 6 a.m. to find him injured.

During five hours of questioning, she denied having any knowledge of how he was injured.

Deputies did not find a gun in the camper nor any evidence of an intruder.

Levy said that the two of them had been dating for about five years, meeting on weekends when they both would travel to the Spotsylvania campground.

She told police that Thomas had a “heart of gold” and that he was the “love of her life.”

After a neighbor told police he heard a gunshot at 6:15 a.m., Swift said he confronted Levy about her statement “that she’d come back to the camper at 5:55 a.m., made coffee in the dark for 15 minutes, then heard Thomas moan in pain, at which point she turned on the lights and found him injured.”

Swift testified that Levy confessed to having a loaded .22-caliber pistol in her car after he told her he had a warrant to search the vehicle. When it was seized by police, the gun was found to have three discharged shells in it.

Swift testified that Levy later confessed that she was angry at Thomas for cheating on her, and that he had threatened to harm her if she ever left him, “so she decided to get even with him.”

Levy told police she shot him once in the back of the head while he was sleeping in the camper bed.

He said Levy explained that as Thomas prepared for bed that night after their argument, she got her gun from her car, loaded it and then waited for him to get in the bed with his back to her before she shot him.

Demoranville examined and photographed Levy and testified that she found no injuries or bruises on Levy.

Levy was represented by deputy public defender Wendy Harris. Spotsylvania Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Neely prosecuted the case.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419