Woman from Clinton accused of murder in California pleads not guilty

Contributed photo | Linda ThomasClinton resident Linda Thomas has pleaded not guilty in a California court to murder and other charges for the slaying of her sister last month.

Thomas, 71, appeared in Richmond Superior Court Tuesday morning facing a slew of charges, including murder with three special enhancements, attempted murder and two counts of elder abuse. She waived her right to a speedy trial and entered not guilty pleas to all the charges, according to the Contra Costa Times.

The newspaper also reported that though Thomas is eligible for the death penalty under California law, prosecutors will not seek it.

Attempts Wednesday morning to reach Deputy District Attorney Rachel Piersig, the state’s prosecutor in the case, were not successful.

The longtime South Whidbey woman is accused of shooting her sister, Zonna Thomas, 69, just after midnight on Oct. 17. Court documents say she traveled to her sister’s home in Rodeo, a small city in the San Francisco Bay Area, the day before, and may have also planned to kill herself. Among her belongings were ammunition for the .38 caliber handgun used in the killing, zip ties, duct tape and laminated instructions for her burial wishes.

The Record has confirmed that Linda Thomas came into the newspaper’s Freeland office in September to submit and prepay for her own obituary. She left instructions not to run the obituary until notified by a funeral home of her death.

A police detective’s report, which included statements by Zonna Thomas’ husband, Donald Thomas, alleges an old family grudge over inheritance money as a possible motive.

Thomas is being held without bail in Martinez Detention Facility. Her next court date is set for Jan. 8.