A former Quantico Marine Base civilian clerk has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on her conviction of murdering a Marine corporal to hide her involvement in an alleged embezzlement scheme in the helicopter squadron that serves President Bush.
Markeithia Reeves, 25, of Suitland, who entered an Alford plea in the case, was sentenced by Prince William County Circuit Court Judge Herman Whisenant to 90 years with 30 years suspended. By entering the plea, Reeves did not admit guilt, but conceded that there was sufficient evidence for a conviction on charges of first-degree murder in the death of Cpl. Estella Pearson. Reeves will be eligible for parole after 15 years.
The second defendant in the murder case, Tania Theresa Morton, 24, a former civilian clerk at the Department of the Navy, was sentenced to 20 years with seven suspended. Morton will be eligible for parole after serving 30 months, said her attorney, Chester Banks. Morton's testimony was pivotal in the case against Reeves, who is accused of shooting Pearson, investigators said.
Pearson, 26, was found shot to death March 5 in her car in the parking lot of the Prince William Shopping Center on Route 1.
She was assigned as a clerk in Helicopter Squadron One, which transports President Bush and other government officials. Shortly before her death, Pearson had been asked to review some questionable vouchers that had been returned to the office. Reeves worked in the same office processing travel vouchers.
Investigators testified in November at Reeves's trial that they have traced 44 checks totaling $33,000 to Reeves and Morton. No embezzlement charges have been filed.
Discussions of the alleged embezzlement were held Thursday between Secret Service agent Robert Turner and the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria, which is reviewing the case, said Greg Golden, an agent with the Naval Investigative Service assigned to Quantico.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas McQuillan said yesterday that "the matter is under consideration" by his office, but refused to say if the case would be dropped or if charges will be filed.
Pearson's relatives said yesterday that they believe the sentences for Reeves and Morton are too lenient. Mary Lee Pearson, Pearson's mother, said she was distressed that Reeves may some day get out of prison.
"She should get life. Neither of them should ever be able to get out of jail, because this was a cold-blooded murder," Mary Lee Pearson said. Estella Pearson "was a good person, she loved her family and she lived right. There was no reason for them to kill her like they did."