Docs: Md. man charged in woman’s burning bought gas can 20 minutes earlier

WASHINGTON — A Germantown, Maryland, man who was seen on surveillance video buying gasoline and a gas can is now charged with the murder of his friend, who was found in her burning car.

A judge on Thursday ruled that Stephan Lunningham, 29, must undergo a mental evaluation at a bond hearing on charges he killed and burned Angela Thomas, 49.

A female friend of Thomas’ told police they were at her apartment, in Germantown, on March 11 when Lunningham arrived to drive Thomas to make two stops, court documents said. The friend told investigators that the two planned to use Thomas’ car to visit another of Thomas’ friends, then stop by Thomas’ Bethesda apartment, which she shared with her boyfriend, to get her a change of clothes.

She was never seen again.

Thomas’ boyfriend, the friend she was expecting to meet, and her mother all told investigators they hadn’t heard from her, the documents said.

Just after 4 a.m. March 12, the documents say, video captured at a Bank of America ATM caught Lunningham making a withdrawal; authorities noted that he is the only person inside Thomas’ Honda sedan.

On March 14, the documents said, Lunningham was seen on the surveillance camera at a Germantown 7-11 buying gasoline and a gas can. Just 20 minutes later, firefighters found Thomas’ remains in the back seat of her burning car in a wooded area off Wisteria Drive, near Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

A medical examiner found Thomas died of multiple injuries and ruled her death a homicide. Lunningham has no prior violent convictions in Maryland. His next court date is in April.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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