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Man indicted for first degree murder in Cape homicide

By Staff | Aug 1, 2012

A man arrested following a crime spree that included the abduction and strangulation slaying of a Cape Coral resident was indicted for first degree murder in the woman’s death Wednesday.

The Lee County Grand Jury indicted Antonio Thomas, 29, in the June death of Phyllis A. Stein, 61.

Police say he approached Stein in the driveway of her 150 S.E. 1st Place home at about 3 p.m. as she was washing her new car. He abducted her, beat and assaulted her, and then dumped her body in the parking lot of the Auto Zone Store on Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers on June 20, officials said.

Her vehicle was later found in Dunbar.

The State Attorney’s Office had previously charged Thomas with 14 felonies including one count of attempted kidnapping, one count of attempted carjacking, two counts of carjacking, three counts of kidnapping, one count of attempted sexual battery, one count of sexual battery, one count of first degree burglary with assault or battery, one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle, one count of battery and one count of attempted felony murder, according to a release from the agency which added the charges were the result of a crime spree that covered a 10-day period with five separate victims.

The State Attorney’s Office said it intends to ask the court to consolidate the existing charges with the first degree murder indictment for trial.

Officials have said the spree started on June 13 with an attempted carjacking and robbery in North Fort Myers at Pondella and Orange Grove.

The victim fought off the attacker.

On June 15, another victim was kidnapped in front of an appliance story on N. Tamiami Trail and brought to Cape Coral, where she escaped.

Thomas was apprehended in Fort Myers on June 22 after he reportedly broke into a home in Dean Park, beat and stabbed a woman during that home invasion, stole a car, and then kidnapped a 15-year-old girl just miles away, forcing her in the trunk.

She was able to escape.

Fort Myers police found Thomas later that morning and took him into custody.