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Saturday, June 19, 2004

New charges filed against teenage girls

The two girls, Nakisha Waddell and Anastasia Belcher, were charged this week with conspiracy to commit murder.

By Shay Wessol

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    WYTHEVILLE - The plot of a Wythe County homicide took a twist this week as authorities charged that two teenage girls not only plotted to kill and rob the mother of one of the girls, they even asked someone else to do it.

    The girls, identified in court papers as Nakisha Waddell, 14, and Anastasia Belcher, now 16, had already been charged with first-degree murder and robbery in connection with the May 28 stabbing death of Waddell's mother, Vaughne Thomas, 42, of Max Meadows.

    Both girls were charged this week with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, intimidation of a witness and solicitation of murder, Chief Deputy Doug King of the Wythe County Sheriff's Office said Friday. The daughter was also charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The car did not belong to her mother, King said.

    Investigators allege the girls repeatedly stabbed Thomas in the neck and back and buried her body in a shallow grave behind her house in the 400 block of Rome Road.

    Waddell initially told investigators that she snapped after she and her mother had been arguing for two days.

    No details about what led to the new charges are being released and the investigation is ongoing, King said.

    "We're wanting to make sure we get as complete a picture of the event as possible," he said.

    A preliminary hearing in juvenile and domestic relations court has been scheduled for August; if a judge certifies the charges, the case would then go to adult court because of the nature of the crime, authorities have said.

    No one else is expected to be charged in connection with the allegation that the girls tried to solicit another person to do the killing, King said.

    Last week, sheriff's deputies charged Andrew C. Long, 21, of Wytheville with two counts of accessory to murder after the fact, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

    According to a search warrant affidavit, Long drove the girls to a home in Norfolk where they told an acquaintance that Thomas was dead.

    The stabbing occurred while Thomas' husband, Robert Thomas, and stepson were visiting Texas. They returned about 9 p.m. May 30 and found their home ransacked and empty.

    Sheriff's deputies found Waddell at Belcher's house in Fort Chiswell along with a long-bladed hunting knife believed to be the weapon used in the killing. Deputies also found Vaughne Thomas' pocketbook and jewelry inside the home.

    The girls led investigators to Thomas' body, buried in a shallow grave about 100 yards behind her house. Logs were piled on top of the dirt to mask her body.

    According to a search warrant affidavit that investigators used to gain access to the girls' lockers at Fort Chiswell High School, Waddell told investigators she stabbed her mother. Belcher told deputies she was in the house when the stabbing occurred and helped bury the body, the affidavit said.


    Staff writer Paul Dellinger

   contributed to this report.

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