Astoria Rage Killer Pleads It Was An Accident
The 33-year-old law school grad accused in the torture-slay of his girlfriend at their Astoria apartment was back in court last week, where he was arraigned on a grand jury superseding indictment charging him with first-and second-degree murder, strangulation, aggravated criminal contempt, tampering with physical evidence, criminal contempt, assault and aggravated harassment in the June 24 murder of Danielle Thomas.
Jason Bohn, who pleaded not guilty at the arraignment where Judge Barry Kron ordered him held without bail, is on suicide watch at the Bellevue Hospital prison ward.
Bohn appeared dazed and disheveled as he was escorted into Queens Criminal Court for the arraignment, where prosecutors said he incriminated himself in the violent death of Thomas, 27, in a phone call he made to police shortly after the murder.
The phone call sent detectives at the 114th Precinct Squad to the apartment on 33rd Street where they found Thomas’ bloodied and beaten body in a bathtub filled with bags of ice cubes.
Police sources said Thomas suffered severe bruising on her forehead, face, shoulders, chest and neck as well as lacerations on her face, mouth and chest.
The new indictment charges Bohn with first-degree murder in Thomas’ death - a higher charge than the original top count of murder in the second degree.
Bohn is accused of strangling and beating Thomas 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.
“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.”
Police sources told the 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 against Bohn with detectives at 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. Thomas told investigators Bohn walked away from her after the beating, leaving her bruised and bloody.
Bohn was arrested and charged with assault and harassment for the beating, police said. Prosecutors asked for $1,000 bail in the case, but the arraigning 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.
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 as 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.”
Law enforcement sources told the Gazette that Bohn’s attorney is planning to use a claim of diminished mental capacity as part of his defense. “They’re apparently going to claim that he suffered abuse as a child at the hand of his drug-addicted father,” the sources said.
“Bohn has also said he was drunk at the time of the murder – and he doesn’t remember what happened,” the sources said.
Prosecutors said they plan to introduce additional evidence at trial that supports their claim that Bohn tortured Thomas prior to the murder.
A first-degree murder indictment is handed up when a defendant is suspected of torturing a victim, as evidenced by the defendant’s sense of pleasure in the infliction of extreme physical pain, law enforcement sources said.
Bohn is scheduled to return to court on September 24.