News 06.13.14

New York Man Cleared in Son’s Death

Nearly four months after the New York Court of Appeals overturned a man’s murder conviction, he was found not guilty of killing his infant son at the retrial on Thursday.

 

In 2008, four-month-old Matthew Dante Thomas died. Doctor’s thought the cause of death was shaken baby syndrome, and the infant’s father, Adrian Thomas, was the prime suspect in the crime. After 10 hours of police interrogation, Adrian Thomas confessed to killing his son. Police had told Thomas his son would live if he told them how the infant’s injuries were sustained when in reality Thomas’ son had already passed away. Thomas was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009. The conviction was overturned in February when the court cited coercive tactics used by police to elicit a confession.

 

The

Times Union

reported that jurors deliberated over two days before acquitting Thomas just after 3 p.m. on Thursday in the Rensselaer County courtroom. Although prosecutors argued that Thomas threw his infant son onto a bed in a fit of frustration that caused trauma and eventually death, expert testimony presented by the defense maintained that the baby died as a result of a bacterial infection and not as a result of any physical harm.

 

Thomas was released from custody shortly after the verdict and went home a free man for the first time in six years. The Innocence Network filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Court of Appeals to reverse Thomas’ conviction.

 

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