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Woman Suspected in Double Killing Appears in Court

May 30, 1996

SANTA ANA — A 19-year-old woman charged with the shooting deaths of a Lemon Heights man and his mother appeared in court Wednesday, holding a file folder over her face to shield herself from media cameras.

The arraignment for Tynickia Sherikia Thompson was postponed until June 21 in Municipal Court in Santa Ana. Prosecutors said they have not decided whether to seek the death penalty against the Anaheim woman, who is being held without bail.

Thompson, who graduated from Western High School in Anaheim last year, was arrested Friday in a parking lot several blocks from her alma mater.

Authorities said she was seen at the home of John Tyler Hancock, 49, a day before he and his 77-year-old mother, Helen Hancock, were found shot and strangled on May 8. Their 4,200-square-foot rented mansion was torched.

Sheriff's deputies would not comment on the relationship between Thompson and John Hancock, but a neighbor said the teenager had referred to the businessman as her boyfriend.

Detectives have said a financial dispute between John Hancock and Thompson may have been a motive for the slayings.

Hancock, who once ran a Newport Beach telephone answering service, served time in prison for swindling lenders and was being investigated on suspicion of credit card fraud at the time of his death.

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