DA Announces Murder Indictment

Submitted by Justin Gould on Mon, 06/17/2024 - 08:00

District Attorney Jason Schmidt announced Monday that Sean Thomas, age 26, of Jamestown, New York, was arraigned on an eight count indictment charging Mr. Thomas with Murder in the Second Degree and related crimes arising from the death of 8 month old Aniyah Turk of Jamestown, New York.  Mr. Thomas is accused of intentionally strangling and shaking Aniyah on April 22nd and earlier which caused catastrophic and unrecoverable injuries requiring her hospitalization on life support until she eventually succumbed to her injuries in May.  At his arraignment this morning, the Chautauqua County Court held Mr. Thomas on bail of $1 million cash or, in the alternative, a $2,000,000 property bond.  He is due back in Court in July for further pre-trial proceedings.

“This is the second indictment arising from two baby deaths occurring  in the City of Jamestown in April.  It comes as the result of a comprehensive investigation conducted by investigators and juvenile detectives of Jamestown Police Department.  Their efforts and professionalism deserve special recognition,” said DA Schmidt. 

“Aniyah’s death is actually one of three occurring here in Chautauqua County during the month of April.  The previous indictment charged Matthew Nuttall with Manslaughter in the First Degree and related charges arising from the death of 16 month old Isaac Benton.  As I said when that indictment was unsealed, what makes this string of tragedies even more difficult to come to terms with is that April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month meant to spotlight the need for increased public awareness of child abuse and neglect.  In all my years of criminal work, and before then, during my years as a child welfare caseworker in New York City, I have never seen this number of child homicides in such a brief period of time.  These are preventable crimes.  Before April, if someone would have predicted that Chautauqua County would be afflicted with this many child tragedies in the span of a few weeks, I would have thought it unimaginable.  We cannot let this trend continue.  Each and every one of us must all be vigilant in looking out for and protecting the safety and well-being of our children.  To the public, if you see something which leads you to suspect child abuse or neglect, say something.  Report your suspicions by contacting your local police or calling the statewide child abuse hotline at 1-800-342-3720.  Anyone who legitimately suspects child abuse or neglect can make a report, and may do so anonymously.  There is no excuse for failing to act.”


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