Indictment Upgrades Charges For Astoria Rage-Killer
A Queens Grand Jury last week handed down an indictment charging law school graduate Jason Bohn, 33, with first-degree murder in the brutal death of his live-in girlfriend—a higher charge than the original top count of murder in the second degree.
Bohn is accused of strangling and beating Danielle Thomas, 27, to death on June 24 in an apparent rage, prosecutors said. He faces life in prison without parole because of his alleged intention to torture the young woman, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The new top charge carries a sentence that would put him behind bars for the rest of his life, if convicted.
The charge also shows that members of the Grand Jury panel believed the murder was exceptionally brutal, Brown said.
Bohn was arrested on the night of June 29 at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in White Plains, while dining with his attorney and his mother, Maureen O’Connell.
Detectives at the 114th Precinct expected Bohn to turn himself in at the Astoria Boulevard stationhouse on June 28, as promised, 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 Boulevard stationhouse for processing.
Bohn’s attorney, Todd Greenberg, told reporters Bohn was just having a last meal before heading to Queens to surrender to the detectives.
Bohn, who neighbors said beat Thomas every day, admitted in a series of notes he left behind at the murder scene that he killed his 27-year-old 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 Queens Gazette Bohn used Thomas’ cellphone 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 a bachelor’s and master’s degree 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 cellphone 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 determined Thomas died from strangulation and blunt-force trauma to her torso. Her bruised and bloodied body was found face up in the bathtub, surrounded by bags of ice, police said.
Thomas’ body was returned to her hometown of Danville, Kentucky on July 2. She was buried in a Disney-themed service in Danville on July 6.