ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — “There’s no time like the present.”
That’s what Isle of Wight sheriff’s deputies say Preston Thomas told them when he walked through the doors of their office and turned himself in on Thursday, seven months after he was accused of shooting and killing his new coworker at Safco Products — and leading police on a statewide manhunt.
Thomas is facing a murder charge and a weapons charge for the death of Rakim Breeden, who had just started working at Safco on the day he was shot and killed last September.
“We’ve been looking for him nonstop, there hasn’t been any time we’ve stopped looking for him,” said Isle of Wight Assistant Public Information Officer Alecia Paul.
“We’ve had very few close calls with him, and we were never gonna stop the search with him,” she said.
Thomas never left the state over the last seven months, according to Paul. When he showed up at the sheriff’s office on Thursday, he was down to skin and bones at 103 lbs.
The shooting happened over an argument about a broken cell phone, according to court documents.
Breeden’s girlfriend, Belinda Hall, also worked at Safco, and says she hasn’t slept well since Thomas went on the run.
“Every day I question myself, why I didn’t try harder,” said Breeden, who added that she had offered to give Thomas money for the broken phone.
Now that he’s been arrested, Hall says she hopes she can finally find some closure.
“I hope he really sees and thinks about what he has done, that now the rest of his life is gone over a cell phone that he could have just let me pay for,” she said. “Maybe now my broken heart can heal.”
Thomas was due in court on Thursday for his arraignment, but it was postponed after he told the judge that he’s recently hired an attorney.
His new arraignment is now scheduled for Thursday, April 21.