Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Troy cops – actually I wrote that same thing yesterday – they got another 2X4 upside the head Thursday when the Appellate Division overturned ordered a new trial for Adrian Thomas, the city man accused of killing his 4-month-old boy in 2009.
You really can’t hold the TPD responsible for this one because law enforcement can lie to and otherwise deceive suspects into giving a confession. But, the line has always been fuzzy between what allowable deception is, and what crosses the line into coercion and violating a suspect’s free will. This decision, which can be seen below, overturns a lower court ruling upholding the conviction and is sure to have wide reaching ramifications.
Without going into to much legal mumbo jumbo (listen to Troy defense attorney Greg Cholakis on Talk 1300 if you want the mumbo jumbo by clicking here and going to Jan. 19, hour 2) by far the most damaging piece of evidence prosecutors had at their disposal was Thomas, who weighed some 300 pounds at the time, demonstrating what he said he did to the child by using a clip board and slamming it against the ground.
Once the jury saw that, he was toast despite the fact the child had no broken bones and was suffering from sepsis – a sometimes fatal infection.
Basically, Det. Adam Mason and Det. Ron Fountain told him if he didn’t tell them what happened they were going to “scoop” up his wife for the crime. They also told him they needed to know what happened in order to save his child’s life – which is acceptable if it’s true, according to the court, but at the time the child had already been declared brain dead.
First Thomas said he would “take the fall” for his wife and that he dropped the baby or banged his head more than once in the days prior to his death. He was assured 67 times that what happened was an accident, told 14 times he would not be arrested and eight times he would be going home.
Thomas then said he slammed the baby onto a mattress prior to slamming the clip board on the floor. After doing it once, Mason told him the child had to have been slammed harder to account for his injuries so Thomas slammed the clip board on the floor with even more ferocity.
He was convicted of second degree murder and is currently serving 25 years to life in Auburn Correctional Facility. Longtime Rensselaer County Public Defender Jerome Frost argued the case on behalf of Thomas. When or if Thomas goes back to trial the jury will not see the confession, according to the court’s ruling.