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'Things haven't been quite the same' | Friend remembers military couple killed after recent conviction of gunman

A jury in Fairfax County found Ronnie Marshall, 21, guilty of aggravated murder and firearm charges after a week-long trial.

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — Edward McDaniel would have just been retired this time last year. Instead, friends are remembering his life on the same month his killer was convicted

"He was very much looking toward retirement with his wife when this tragic event occurred," friend Chad Manske said. 

A jury in Fairfax County found 21-year-old Ronnie Marshall guilty of aggravated murder and firearm charges after a week-long trial earlier this month.  

He killed Edward McDaniel and his 63-year-old wife Brenda McDaniel in May 2021 in the driveway of their home in Springfield. Prosecutors said they were getting ready to walk their dog when Marshall shot them execution-style. 

The couple were respected and honorable members of the military. Brenda McDaniel was a retired Army colonel and nurse. Edward McDaniel was an Army colonel and doctor at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. 

"It became apparent that he was more than our doctor, he was really our friend very quickly," Manske, who was a patient and friend for seven years, told WUSA9. "His passion was his patients and that hospital. He was clearly dedicated because it wasn't just a job for him. Things haven't been quite the same there."

Manske is sharing what Edward McDaniel meant to his family as Marshall awaits his sentence in February, which could be life in prison.  

"I'm a person of faith, so, I believe whatever happens will happen to him," Manske added. "My wife and I are just praying for the family and the friends that they can find peace and comfort in this justice that has happened."

Prosecutors say two days before the murders, Marshall broke into McDaniel's home. Marshall was searching for the couple's son, who he worked with at FedEx. 

Edward McDaniel confronted the gunman with a shotgun and ordered him to leave. Marshall returned two days later and killed the couple when he learned they knew his name. 

"We in Fairfax County have no tolerance for such disregard for human life and I’m pleased the jury saw this shooting for what it was — cold-blooded murder,” Descano said. “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."

 A second suspect in the case, 21-year-old D'Angelo Strand, is facing a charge of accessory after the fact for being the driver for Marshall.

His original charge of second-degree murder was downgraded after he testified against Marshall.

Strand has a hearing scheduled on December 6.


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