An area man who shot and killed a 12-year-old girl has pleaded guilty to the crime as part of a plea agreement that gives him 20 years to life in prison.
Ulster County resident, Gilbert Thomas, 24, of the City of Kingston, pleaded guilty on Friday, Oct. 22, to murder and depraved indifference, for the murder of D’Janeira Mason.
“The victim, in this case, was an innocent 12-year-old girl. She had her whole life in front of her,” said District Attorney David Clegg. “D’Janeira Mason mattered. She mattered to her siblings and parents, her friends, and extended family. She mattered to her teachers and fellow students at Bailey Middle School. She mattered to this community. Her life was senselessly taken from her by a depraved indifferent act.”
The shooting took place on Saturday, Dec, 12, when Thomas, who self-identifies as a member of the Bloods, used an AK-47, believed to be a “community gun” shared by Bloods members, to shoot into a home occupied by five children. Thomas claimed that he was retaliating for the stabbing of his brother earlier that evening, the DA's Office said.
Prior to the shooting, Thomas had gone to the home where the children were located and asked the children if the person who he believed had stabbed his brother was there.
The children told him there were no adults there. Thomas told the children he was there to “boom” the place. Thomas then walked across the street and pulled an AK-47 out of a bag.
A co-defendant, who was present, said he tried to tell Thomas not to shoot because there were kids inside. Thomas told the man, “I don’t give a [expletive].” Thomas then shot nine times – two of the bullets entered the children’s bedroom and one of the bullets struck D’Janeira Mason in the head, killing her instantly, the DA's Office said.
Thomas believed a rival gang was involved in his brother’s stabbing. There was, however, no gang involvement connected to the residence of these children. It appears the children were the victims of a mistake.
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