Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Friday, May 9, 2014 at 6:25 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

CBS to air recording of woman before murder

CBS' "48 Hours" this weekend will air parts of a haunting voicemail recorded during the last minutes of a young woman's life as she was murdered, although the victim's mother says she wishes the show wouldn't.


AP Television Writer

advertising

NEW YORK —

CBS' "48 Hours" this weekend will air parts of a haunting voicemail recorded during the last minutes of a young woman's life as she was murdered, although the victim's mother says she wishes the show wouldn't.

The Saturday-night crime series (10 p.m. EDT) focuses on the 2012 murder of Weight Watchers executive Danielle Thomas by her live-in boyfriend, lawyer Jason Bohn, in New York. During Bohn's trial, it was revealed that Thomas' phone recorded a four-minute message that includes her screams and pleas for her life.

At one point she says, "Jason, I love you," and there are seven seconds of silence -- except for a barking dog -- possibly the moment she was strangled.

The recording was played during Bohn's trial earlier this year but because the court proceedings weren't televised, it hasn't been heard publicly outside the courtroom. CBS requested a copy through the Freedom of Information Act because its contents were crucial to the jury's deliberations and were used by both the defense and prosecution, said Susan Zirinsky, senior executive producer of "48 Hours."

"We do not use an enormous amount of it, less than some of the people who put the whole text out," Zirinsky said. "Hearing it is pretty chilling."

Janie Thomas Bright, Thomas' mother and a special education teacher in Danville, Kentucky, said she made it a point to leave the courtroom when the recording was being played during the trial. Bright, who was interviewed for the "48 Hours" story, doesn't want to hear it on television, either.

"My mother and I begged them not to use it," Bright said. "But once the trial was complete it was in the public record."

She said CBS has told them at about which points the recording will be used on Saturday's show, and she plans to mute her television when those moments come up.

"I don't think I can bear to hear her voice," she said.

The recording isn't used extensively, but snippets are sprinkled throughout the story. Bright said she has already heard part of it on a promotion that CBS aired in advance of the show, with Bohn, an Ivy League-educated lawyer, saying, "In five seconds I'm going to let you up, and you need to answer quickly, or else you die."

At another point, he tells his girlfriend: "You're so stupid, you think I'm going to stop. I'm not going to stop."

Bohn's defense team argued that Bohn was mentally ill because he had been abandoned by his mother as a child. The prosecution says this doesn't excuse murder. The recording was used as evidence of Bohn's state of mind. "If no one felt this wasn't the important element in the case, we would not have gone after it," Zirinsky said.

She said CBS does not use the material randomly or gratuitously.

The story itself raises many issues, including the role of mental illness and childhood trauma in criminal actions and the need for people not to follow their instincts. Thomas had reported Bohn to authorities for abusive behavior before the night of the murder but stayed with him, even telling her mother she'd say yes if he asked her to marry him.

___

David Bauder can be reached at dbauder@ap.org or on Twitter@dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.

___

Online:

http://www.cbsnews.com/



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►