VERDICT: Suspended Somerset County DA Remanded to Prison after Jury Convicts on Assault and Strangulation Charges

March 16, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

Attorney General Michelle Henry announced today that a jury has found suspended Somerset County District Attorney Jeffrey L. Thomas guilty of assault, strangulation, and related charges regarding a Sept. 18, 2021, incident at a Windber home.

Thomas, 37, was found guilty of six charges: indecent assault, strangulation, simple assault, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, and felony criminal trespass.

Senior Judge Timothy P. Creany, who presided over the jury trial, will order sentence on May 16, 2023. Thomas was remanded to the Somerset County Jail following Thursday’s verdict.

“This crime was absolutely abhorrent, even more disturbing because it was perpetrated by a once-trusted public official elected to protect citizens from the types of despicable acts he inflicted on the victim,” Attorney General Henry said following the verdict. “We commend the jurors for their attention to hearing what was a living nightmare for the victim. We are hopeful this verdict offers her a measure of justice and that the upcoming sentence removes Mr. Thomas’s threat to public safety.”

“While Mr. Thomas and his defense team attempted to make inflammatory statements during a pre-trial hearing to shift the attention from the criminal conduct involved, our team maintained focus on justice for the victim,” AG Henry added.

After the verdict, Judge Creany also ordered that a sexually violent predator assessment be conducted.

The jury returned its verdict Thursday afternoon, following seven days of testimony in Somerset County Court presented by Chief Deputy General Patrick Schulte and Senior Deputy Attorney General Tomm Mutschler.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Thomas entered the woman’s home and refused to leave, ultimately beating and sexually assaulting her. Evidence presented at trial indicated that Thomas had contacted the victim for months, sending inappropriate – and unwanted – messages and images.

The victim testified that Thomas’s position as district attorney was intimidating and prevented her from reporting the unwanted contact for several days.

Thomas faces a separate criminal case, also being prosecuted by the Office of Attorney General, regarding domestic abuse allegations in Cambria County. A trial date has not yet been set. Thomas is presumed innocent in that matter.

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