National News

Man who escaped charges in 2012 kills girlfriend, son, self

Posted November 23

— A former Pennsylvania prosecutor said she tried unsuccessfully to prosecute a man for slashing his girlfriend's throat four years ago and was sickened to learn he killed her and their son last weekend.

The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/2ggQt3Z ) that former assistant district attorney Alexis Falvello was pursuing the case against Zackary Yashkus in 2012, but two district judges threw out the charges when the victim wouldn't testify.

Police said the couple had become estranged by the time Yashkus, 23, killed Sharae Thompson, 21, and their 3-year-old son Xander on Saturday before killing himself. All three died of gunshot wounds to the head.

"When you hear something like that, there is a sense of feeling of failure," Falvello told the newspaper. She said the double murder and suicide made her feel "sick to my stomach."

She said prosecutors were concerned about Thompson's safety — she had suffered a 5-inch neck wound — and attempted to pursue the case without her. When the first district judge dismissed the case, they tried again, but it was again thrown out by the second judge.

The paper said Yashkus posted a photo of a gun, a liquor bottle and a beer can on Facebook at about 2 a.m. Saturday — a few hours before the killings — with the caption: "problem solvers."

"I'm dead everyone," he wrote. "I'm sorry. I couldn't control my demons."

Authorities say he shot Thompson in a car in Wilkes-Barre, and then shot his son along Interstate 81 before turning the gun on himself. The child was alive when help arrived but died a short time later at a hospital.

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