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Former Georgia deputy gets life in murders of wife, day laborer

By Nancy Leung, In Session Field Producer
  • Derrick Yancey showed no emotion as judge imposed the sentence
  • The former sheriff's deputy tried to pin his wife's murder on a day laborer from Guatemala
  • Yancey has to serve at least 60 years in prison

Decatur, Georgia (CNN) -- A former Georgia sheriff's deputy convicted of murder in the slaying of his wife and a day laborer in 2008 was sentenced Friday to two consecutive life sentences plus five years in prison.

That means that Derrick Yancey, 51, will have to serve at least 60 years before he is eligible for parole.

He stared straight forward and showed no emotion as a Superior Court judge imposed the sentence for the murders of Linda Yancey, 44, who was also a sheriff's deputy, and Marcial Cax-Puluc, 23, a day laborer from Guatemala.

Referring to Linda Yancey, Judge Linda Hunter said, "She was an officer, she was a wife, she was a mother, she was a daughter, she was a sister, she was a friend. Mr. Cax-Puluc, who had barely began to live his life, he died that day. It's not lost on the court, and probably yourself, that today an officer has fallen because you were a law enforcement officer entrusted with so many responsibilities."

Hunter and the defendant, who both worked at the Dekalb County Courthouse, knew each other, prosecutors have said.

Yancey was convicted earlier this month of two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Cax-Puluc and Linda Yancey were shot multiple times in the Yanceys' home in Stone Mountain.

The defendant told police that he shot Cax-Puluc in self-defense after the day laborer had shot his wife. Prosecutors argued that Yancey was the lone gunman and that he hired Cax-Puluc as part of an elaborate plan to kill his wife.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Linda Yancey's brother, Eugene Thomas, addressed Derrick Yancey, a father of two, directly. "You had just killed the mother of your two children. During the night, or during the hard times or dark days, who are they going to call on? Can they call on their mother? No. She's there lying in her grave. That's because of your actions, Derrick."

Relatives and friends of both sheriffs' deputies packed the courtroom during the sentencing. The prosecutor said Cax-Puluc's family was unable to attend.

Two of the 12 jurors who convicted Yancey also attended the sentencing. One of them, Susan Rodgers, told reporters that Yancey's call to 911, testimony from a ballistics expert and the medical examiner helped convince the jury of the prosecution's case. The jurors deliberated for about 22 hours before reaching a verdict.