Rafiq Thompson to face life in prison for fatal shooting of pregnant ex-girlfriend

Rafiq Thompson.
Rafiq Thompson. Photo credit Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia man convicted of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend and their unborn child at a King of Prussia gas station last year will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Rafiq Thompson, 40, was facing the death penalty after he was convicted of two counts of first degree murder for killing Tamara Cornelius and their unborn child while Cornelius was pumping gas at the Exxon on North Gulph Road across the street from the King of Prussia Mall. But the jury could not reach a unanimous decision on whether or not he should be sentenced to death.

All 12 jurors must agree to the death penalty. If one or more juror disagrees, then a life sentence is given.

Thompson’s lawyer Niels Eriksen says there were several reasons for jurors to vote no to the death penalty.

“I think the emotion that he was dealing with the complex emotions of him being in a lover's triangle, where the mother of his child is living with another guy was tearing him apart,” Eriksen said.

Cornelius was pregnant with Thompson’s child. During the trial, Thompson testified that Cornelius told him he’d be lucky to ever see the child.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele says, despite not getting the death penalty, they “got justice in this case.”

“And that was the goal from the beginning, which was to make sure that this man would never walk the streets again,” he added.

Thompson is scheduled to be sentenced to at least life in prison on Tuesday.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office