Fairfax County

Man Found Guilty in Killings of Highly Decorated Military Couple in Virginia

Edward McDaniel Jr. was an active duty colonel doctor at Fort Belvoir, police said. Brenda McDaniel, his wife, was a retired military nurse in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps

springfield shooting scene aerial
NBC Washington

A man was found guilty Wednesday of killing a highly decorated military couple in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Police said the killer, Ronnie Marshall, then 20, had worked with the victims' son at FedEx and had accused his coworker of stealing from him.

Authorities say two days before Edward and Brenda McDaniel were slain in May 2021, Marshall broke into the family’s home, where Edward McDaniel met him with a shotgun and ordered him to leave.

But, prosecutors said, Marshall returned on May 26 and killed the couple because he didn’t want them to identify him to police. The McDaniels' son testified last week he watched out the window as Marshall approached the couple but ran to a bathroom for his safety when he heard gunfire.

The victims were found shot to death in the driveway of their home in the 8000 block of Flint Street in Springfield.

Marshall’s attorney questioned whether the masked gunman who shot the couple really was his client.

On Wednesday, a jury found Marshall guilty of aggravated murder and two counts of use of a firearm in a murder. Aggravated murder applies when two or more people are killed in the same incident, prosecutors said.

"This was a highly emotional and tragic case that ended the lives of two respected members of the Army and our community," Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Mr. and Mrs. McDaniel were killed in their own driveway while taking their dog for a walk.”

Marshall faces up to life in prison when he's sentenced Feb. 24.

“While there are no winners in a case like this, I’m glad Mr. Marshall is being held accountable for his crimes, and I hope this conviction brings some level of closure to the McDaniel family," Descano said.

In the immediate aftermath of the killings, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said, “We’ve lost two brave, dedicated, life-long servants to our country. Two full colonels were murdered in a residential neighborhood community.”

Col. Edward McDaniel, 55, was an internal medicine doctor in the Army from June 1995 to May 2021. He was director of executive medicine at Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital, authorities have said. Col. Brenda McDaniel, 63, was a medical-surgical nurse in the Army from September 1983 to September 2009 and had retired.

Northern Virginia Bureau Reporter Drew Wilder reports on a couple murdered outside their Springfield home.

 D'Angelo Strand, then 19, was also charged in the case and testified for the prosecution against Marshall.

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18 to determine the next steps in Strand's case. He is charged as an accessory after the fact for driving Marshall to and from the McDaniels' home the day of the killings.

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