The teenager accused of murdering two of his counselors could face the death penalty.
With two murder charges against 19-year-old Ronald Dorsey Junior, he qualifies for capital punishment, according to Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert.
County police said Dorsey confessed to strangling both women, Lizeth Lopez, 36, in April and Erica Hickson, 37, on Friday. Both worked for Youth Quest for Independent Living at a Woodbridge apartment complex which houses troubled youth and those who've aged out of foster care.
Dorsey was one of the residents Lopez and Hickson supervised. For Hickson, Youth Quest was only a summer job.
"She was super enthusiastic, energetic, positive. Just a wonderful person all around," the Annandale High School Principal Tim Thomas said.
Hickson worked there during the school year as a transition teacher for students with disabilities.
"It didn't surprise me that she was doing similar work with kids because she was just a person who cared," Thomas said.
Hickson's boyfriend said he tried to get her to quit the Youth Quest job because he said the program failed to protect her, especially after Lopez was found dead in a drainage ditch a quarter mile from the complex. Hickson's body was found in woods behind Dorsey’s apartment on Friday.
A D.C. family that claims to be related to Dorsey said his mother died of cancer when he was 10 years old and his father took him to Virginia, never letting him see his D.C. family again. The family members, a cousin and aunt, did not want to share their names.
"He's got someone on his side," said his aunt, no matter what he's been accused of.
She said they saw Dorsey last year on a local TV news segment devoted to finding adoptive homes for foster children. Dorsey, who was 18 at the time, said he wanted to be a chef.
Grief counselors have been available for staff and students at Annandale High School, where Hickson worked.