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DeKalb grand jury doesn't buy story that day laborer was shot after killing man's wife

By Mary Lou Pickel and David Simpson
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DeKalb County, Ga. - Jose Cax Puluc never believed his brother was a killer.
DeKalb County sheriff's Deputy Derrick Yancey claimed day laborer Marcial Cax Puluc killed his wife in an armed robbery June 9, forcing Yancey to shoot him. But on Thursday, a DeKalb grand jury indicted Yancey, accusing him of both slayings.
Relatives and friends of the young illegal immigrant from Guatemala insisted from the beginning of the investigation that he was not a violent person.
His 30-year-old brother, Jose Cax Puluc, reached by phone Thursday as he painted a house in Florida, paused when told the news.
"That's good," he said finally. "My brother did nothing wrong," Puluc said in Spanish.
Yancey, 49, surrendered at the DeKalb County Jail Thursday afternoon about an hour after authorities announced his indictment on two murder charges and two counts of using a gun in the commission of a felony.
Yancey, a 17-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, resigned on Monday. His indictment follows a murder charge leveled last month against former DeKalb County police Officer Torrey Thompson, who was indicted in an unrelated case after he shot an unarmed suspect in 2006.
Yancey was to be moved to another jail because of his former job with the Sheriff's Office, which runs the DeKalb jail, said sheriff's spokeswoman Mikki Jones.
Defense lawyer Keith Adams said Yancey will be proven innocent. He plans to file a motion today seeking Yancey's release on bond.
Neither DeKalb police nor the district attorney's office would discuss exactly what they think happened in the Yancey home near Stone Mountain, but police Sgt. Dave Fonseca said the case would lean heavily on forensics and ballistic evidence.
Adams predicted that "the evidence will show that what happened in that basement is consistent with what Mr. Yancey said."
Yancey told police he had hired Cax Puluc to do yard work. He said the man found one of Yancey's guns in his home and used it to try to rob Linda Yancey, fatally shooting her.
Derrick Yancey then shot Cax Puluc with the gun he carried on the job, Adams has said.
Police records show no evidence of any prior violence between Derrick and Linda Yancey. But Derrick Yancey was arrested in April and November 2006 because of separate confrontations with his teenage son. Prosecutors later dropped the charges in both cases.
Linda Yancey also worked for the Sheriff's Office. She spent 13 years there, most recently as an intake officer in Juvenile Court.
Eugene Thomas, one of her brothers, said he had no idea what might have led to her death.
"I was surprised. I was shocked. I was devastated, and I haven't had a good night's sleep since this occurred," he said at a news conference at police headquarters Thursday.
Ludin Perez, who was one of Cax Puluc's roommates in an apartment near Stone Mountain, said Cax Puluc, whose family says he was 20, was timid and would not rob anyone. He had been in the United States six weeks.
"They have in their hands the opportunity to do justice," Perez said of the police and prosecutors. "This is what we hope happens," he said in Spanish.
"This case is very sensitive in that it affected the state's relationship with another country," police Chief Terrell Bolton said. It's about a person whose "life didn't seem to have value," he said.

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