Attorney Jason Bohn is facing a particularly challenging case. First, the victim was beaten and strangled to death. Second, he is the defendant and the victim was his girlfriend and Danielle Thomas, 27, was killed in their New York City apartment. Bohn, 35, has come up with a novel defense: “intermittent explosive disorder.”
Thomas was a senior analyst at Weight Watchers and had recently moved from Florida to New York to be with Bohn.
A defense expert detailed Bohn’s history of IED by testifying that it began with his causing a miscarriage as a 14 year old by punching a pregnant 18-year-old in the stomach. The disorder is claimed to have blocked memories of such acts starting with the attack on the pregnant woman while he was in foster care. He claims to have been traumatized by his mother in his childhood after she abandoned him for her own career. His mother is Scholastic Chief Financial Officer Maureen O’Connell (right). She reportedly makes $1.2 million and has been paying her son’s legal bills.
The trial has a particularly damaging piece of evidence where the final scene is recorded on an accidentally recorded call to a friend. Bohn is heard questioning Thomas about why she called a number with a 508 area code. Bohn then strangles here as she pleads for her life and tries to answer his questions. The building superintendent recalled hearing Taylor scream: “He’s kill me. Somebody help me.” She was later found in a bathtub of ice and Bohn had fled with her cellphone. (According to new reports, Bohn was seen buying ice from a neighborhood store.
Bohn later emailed a friend to assure that Taylor was fine and attending the weekend’s gay pride parade in Greenwich Village. He also called a former girlfriend to say that he was in trouble over hitting Taylor and asking her “Please do not talk with any law enforcement officials until my defense attorneys can contact you. . . . I don’t remember anything that happened, OK. I think I pushed her. She bumped her head. When I woke up the next morning she was not breathing. I freaked out and I fled the city.”
While the defense team is the best that money can buy, he is still has that recorded call which will be hard for a jury to forget.
Then there is his rant against the victim on Facebook after his arrest where Bohn blamed Thomas, stress, alcohol and abuse of his father for the murder. He added that
“I suspected she was a cheater . . . At the very least, I gradually confirmed she was a compulsive liar, particularly with regard to relations with the opposite sex, both past and present. As a result I grew insecure and abusive. In hines-sight [sic] one of us should’ve walked away. But, I was already madly in love with her.”
He portrays himself as pitiful and miserable: “I alternate between crying uncontrollably in my cell while I stare at her office building from my window to fighting with other inmates over food.”
Many may find the concept of intermittent explosive disorder is bit too convenient for criminal defendants who have a history of violent outbursts. It is also unclear how this disorder can factor into the guilt stage without excusing any violent act. The sentencing stage on the other hand allows the full range of childhood and emotional issues to be considered. Since Bohn is not denying the murder, he is putting all of his case on the disorder and the hopes of a lesser sentence. The question will be whether that recording will continue to resonate in the courtroom so loudly to drown out the claim.
Source: Daily Mail