Not Guilty Plea In Astoria Rage Murder
The law school grad accused of killing his girlfriend in the Astoria apartment they shared pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on June 30 at Queens Criminal Court.
A withdrawn Jason Bohn, 33, shuffled into the Queens courtroom on Saturday sporting a shaved head and a gray hoodie to face charges of murder, aggravated criminal contempt, first-degree criminal contempt and tampering with physical evidence.
Bohn stood silently at the defense table as his attorney, Todd Greenberg, entered a not guilty plea on his fehalf.
Queens Criminal Court Judge Barry Kron heard the plea and ordered Bohn held without bail, on a suicide watch in protective custody at Rikers Island until his next court date on July 5, when bail may be set.
Bohn was arrested on the night of June 29 at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in White Plains while dining with Greenberg and his mother, Maureen O’Connell.
Detectives at the 114th Precinct expected Bohn to turn himself in at the Astoria Boulevard stationhouse on Friday, but when he failed to show up they went looking for him, police sources said.
Sources said eight plainclothes cops surrounded Bohn at the restaurant and handcuffed him – in front of dozens of stunned diners. Cops said Bohn was arrested without incident and returned to the Astoria stationhouse for processing.
Greenberg told reporters Bohn was “just having a last meal” before heading to Queens to surrender to the detectives.
Bohn, who neighbors said beat Danielle Thomas “every day,” admitted in a series of notes he left behind at the murder scene that he killed his 27-year-old live in girlfriend on June 24 during a heated argument at the apartment on 20th Avenue in Astoria.
“It was an accident,” Bohn wrote, over and over in a series of notes he left at the murder scene, prosecutors said.
“I had been drinking and I was drunk when I got home,” Bohn wrote. “She was already asleep, I woke up and there was fighting between us. When I woke up again she was unconscious,” Bohn said. “I’m sorry.”
Law enforcement sources said Bohn told investigators he “panicked” after killing Thomas and put her body in a bathtub full of ice at the apartment. Police responding to a 911 call on June 26 made the grisly discovery.
Police sources told the Gazette Bohn used Thomas’ cell phone to send text messages to several of her friends in the hours after the murder, pretending to be the victim.
“He sent texts saying she was ‘fine’ and that she was spending Sunday at the Gay Pride Parade,” police sources said. “He didn’t want anyone to call or text her and question why she didn’t answer.”
Thomas was killed about three weeks after she filed an Order of Protection with the 114th Precinct.
Thomas, a senior financial analyst at Weight Watchers, went to the 114th Precinct on June 7 to report that Bohn had viciously beaten her, punching her in the face and torso and walking away – leaving her bruised and bloody.
Bohn was arrested and charged with assault and harassment, police said. Prosecutors asked for $1,000 bail in the case, but the judge released him without bail and issued the Order of Protection.
Law enforcement sources said the judge handled the case appropriately, because there was no record of domestic abuse or assault by Bohn. “Thomas never filed a complaint before the June 7 incident, so there was no history of violence tied to Bohn,” the sources said.
“He was charged with a misdemeanor count in the June 7 incident, which does not legally call for bail,” the sources said.
Police sources told the Gazette that the abuse began before the couple started living together last year. “According to family members and friends, this guy was beating Thomas while they lived in Florida,” the sources said.
Bohn, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University and a law degree from the University of Central Florida, met Thomas at a football game in Winter Haven, Florida. The couple moved to the Astoria apartment just a few months ago, the sources said.
Cops said Bohn was so brazen in his rage that he called Thomas on her cell phone while she was reporting the June 7 beating at the precinct, threatening her while detectives listened in.
“It’s war!” Bohn raged, police said. “I’ll dedicate my life to hunting you down like a dog in the streets. I am going to make your life impossible.”
The city Medical Examiner’s Office last week determined Thomas died from strangulation and blunt-force trauma to her torso.
Bohn could face up to 25 years in jail, if convicted.