NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens man convicted of first-degree murder in the 2012 torture death of his girlfriend has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
At his sentencing hearing, Bohn told the victim’s mother and grandmother that he and Thomas were best friends and planned to marry.
“Nanna and Mom, I don’t know what to say,” Bohn said, crying. “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.
“I don’t know how this happened.”
At one point, Thomas collapsed at the defense table, weeping and bleeding from the nose.
Thomas’ mother and grandmother spoke at the hearing, the grandmother calling Bohn a “bully” and a “coward.” She, however, said she would forgive him.
“How could you have taken Danielle from me and her mother?” said the grandmother, Juanita Hargrove. “She was the most important person in our lives.
“I’m trying not to hate you, Jason. The Bible says that I must forgive you, and I’m going to.”
The victim’s mother, Janie Thomas-Bright, recalled asking Thomas what she would say if Bohn ever proposed to her.
“Jason, she immediately said, ‘I’d accept’ with a big smile on her face,” Thomas-Bright said. ” … I will never get to be the mother of the bride, helping select the perfect wedding dress for Danielle.”
In its final statement to the court, the prosecution did not mince words about how Bohn tortured and killed Thomas as she begged for her life.
“He asked her two times, ‘How does it feel?’ He taunted her, saying to her, ‘You are so stupid. You think I’m going to stop? I’m not going to stop,'” said prosecutor Patrick O’Connor.
Just before being escorted out of the courtroom, Bohn said to the victim’s family: “I’m so sorry. I love you.”
Thomas-Bright said that comforted her.
“That has helped my heart,” she said.
None of Bohn’s long-estranged family attended the hearing.
Thomas’ beaten and bruised body was found in the couple’s Astoria apartment on June 26, 2012. She died of blunt-force trauma to her neck and torso.
Authorities who arrived at the scene found the 27-year-old’s body in a bathtub surrounded by ice, officials said.
A note found at the scene read, “It was an accident. I had been drinking and I was drunk when I got home. She was already asleep. I woke up and there was fighting between us. When I woke up again she was unconscious. I am sorry.”
According to the trial testimony, Bohn’s deadly assault on Thomas was captured in a voice mail in what is believed to have been an accidental dialing of the friend’s number. In the recording, which was played at the trial, Thomas is heard begging Bohn for her life as he strangled her, demanding to know why she had called a certain area code, and saying to her: “This is your life,” to which she replied, “I know.”
Bohn, a University of Florida law school graduate, continued to assault her, saying things such as: “Danielle, you don’t have a lot of time” and ignoring her as she says, “Jason, I can’t breathe.”
As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, there was much evidence of Bohn’s violent history. Weeks before her death, Thomas had gone to police after a beating had left her with black eyes and on crutches. Bohn had even called her cellphone while she was at the police station and officers heard him threatening to bash in her skull and hunt her down “like a dog.”
Assault charges were pending. Thomas, who worked as a financial analyst at Weight Watchers, had an order of protection when she was killed.
“The defendant has been held accountable for his actions and will spend the rest of his life in prison,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a news release Tuesday.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- 1 Passenger Killed In 7-Vehicle Crash On Van Wyck Expressway
- Nassau County Officials Close Beaches After ‘Dozens’ Of Used Hypodermic Needles Wash Ashore
- Colorado Father Suspected Of Killing Pregnant Wife, 2 Daughters
- Staten Island Stop & Shop Donates Powerball Winnings To Local Soup Kitchen
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)