September 7, 2004, 8:00 p.m.     District of Massachusetts
Deputy Marshal Mike Nelson (413) 246-2823
USMS Headquarters Public Affairs (202) 307-9065

U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive in Grisly Massachusetts Killing
Caught in Jamaica

Antonio George JAMES“The victim -- a beloved social worker – inspired an international manhunt to find her killer,” says U.S. Deputy Marshal Mike Nelson in Springfield, Massachusetts.  “Terri Thomas was a popular figure in this town and the mother of three,” says Nelson, “Her murderer broke into the Thomas home in 1996, and stabbed her to death in front of those terrified little boys. 

“In 1997, a local school was named in her honor,” said Nelson, “and as of today, her alleged killer is in custody.”

Ms. Thomas’ former boyfriend, Antonio George James, 37, was arrested for the murder at 11:50 this morning in his hometown, Kingston, Jamaica.  He is a fugitive on the U.S. Marshals international 15 Most Wanted list.  In addition to unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for the killing, Mr. James had a long history of domestic abuse charges, and was wanted for distribution of a controlled substance, and for an “assault and battery with a dangerous weapon” charge.  Deputy Marshals working out of the agency’s Foreign Field Office in Kingston, said James was arrested without incident by the Jamaican Constabulary Force.

The Washington Times and other national media focused on the case because of the victim’s popularity in Springfield, and because of the grisly details surrounding her murder.  Prior to the killing, James’ abusive treatment of the victim had led to a restraining order against him.  Police responded to a 911 call on the day of her death and ordered James to leave the premises.  But later that night, an assailant entered Thomas’ bedroom through a second story window, stabbed her in the chest, then told her very young children to remain in her bed while she bled to death.  

Deputy Nelson says that since the Marshals began working the case last September, he discovered that James had a history of domestic abuse, as well as other families in Springfield, New York City, Jamaica, and London, England.  “He fled to a wife and a girlfriend in the Bronx’s Jamaican community, after the killing,” said Nelson, “then to Kingston and later to London and back.”  Marshals’ spokespersons in Kingston said he was living with a common law wife there when he was arrested. 

The victim was a noted youth probation officer in Western Massachusetts, and hoped to become a magistrate judge in the future.  Deputy Nelson, a nine-year veteran with the Marshals, said, “I feel great about the capture, because Terri Thomas’ children, her mother and her friends have worked so closely with us since the warrant was turned over to U.S. Marshals last September.  This arrest caps more than a year of   cooperation between our Deputies, Springfield police, Massachusetts State Police, our Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Newhouse, Interpol, New York City Police, and a number of concerned Jamaicans who live in Springfield and in New York City.” 

In Kingston, the U.S. Marshals Jamaican Foreign Field Office routinely works closely with the Fugitive Apprehension Team of the Jamaican Constabulary Force.  In addition to operating its Field Office there, the U.S. Marshals provide ongoing fugitive tracking and apprehension training for officers on the highly regarded Jamaican fugitive apprehension unit.

James will face extradition proceedings in a Kingston courtroom tomorrow.