Suspended Somerset County DA allowed to communicate with wife again

·4 min read

Aug. 3—EBENSBURG — Suspended Somerset County District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas' bond conditions in Cambria County were modified on Tuesday, allowing him to resume communication with his wife.

The order came after Amy Thomas testified under oath that she did not feel "at risk or in fear of harm" from her husband, who has been prohibited from speaking with her since spring.

In Cambria County, Thomas is accused of assaulting his wife during a May 2021 vehicle ride between Johnstown and Windber that was allegedly witnessed during a FaceTime call.

To support their case, prosecutors have pointed to testimony from a woman who Amy Thomas called that night through the video chat application and images of Amy Thomas' injuries that the woman photographed afterward.

Amy Thomas has maintained that her husband is innocent of the charges and that she was injured in a car crash that night, which has since led police to file a perjury charge against her, alleging that she made "knowingly" false statements.

Tuesday's separate bond hearing was not related to those newly filed charges. But the state Office of Attorney General sought to have Cambria County's no-contact order between the Thomases sustained.

To support their argument, prosecutors played two recordings of 911 calls made by Amy Thomas on May 14 and 15, 2021, where she at one point yelled for help and at another said her hair was pulled by her husband.

The Windber woman sobbed throughout both recordings and was sometimes unintelligible while asking authorities for help. At one point, a dispatcher asked her to identify her attacker and the call was suddenly disconnected.

While Tuesday's hearing was a bond modification proceeding, Cambria County President Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III said he viewed the matter as similar to a protection-from-abuse order hearing.

While saying the 911 calls raised "significant concern," Krumenacker also acknowledged the extensive passage of time that occurred between the dates of those calls and Tuesday — 15 months.

And Amy Thomas, the person the order was filed to protect, indicated that she supported the bond modification, then took the witness stand and told Krumenacker she is not concerned that her safety is at risk.

Tuesday's hearing was the final legal step the couple needed to clear to resume speaking to one another. Six weeks ago, a Somerset County judge agreed to modify a no-contact order in Somerset County related to separate charges against Jeffrey Thomas.

But through stipulations in Somerset County court, which also require Thomas to wear an electronic monitoring device, Thomas must remain at his parents' Windber residence until permitted otherwise by county probation officers.

Jeffrey Thomas is awaiting trial in Somerset County this fall, accused of sexually assaulting and strangling a separate Windber woman in September 2021.

His law license was suspended, and he is prevented from overseeing his office. The Somerset County Salary Board also halted his pay late last year.

Amy Thomas also faces charges, accused of perjury, intimidating a witness and obstructing the administration of law related to the domestic case with her husband.

Police allege she sent harassing text messages to a witness in the case and "knowingly" provided the courts with a false story that she was injured in a crash.

Amy Thomas maintains she is innocent of those charges and that the allegations — and Tuesday's hearing — are meant to cast her and her husband in a bad light.

Thomas told The Tribune-Democrat she does not dispute that she made the 911 calls that were played for the court Tuesday. She said that she made the calls after learning her husband was with another woman and that she was "upset."

"I was drunk. I was upset with him," she said. "This was an embarrassing moment that I have to live with."

At the conclusion of the hearing, Jeffrey Thomas' Allegheny County attorney, Joe Otte, informed Krumenacker that he no longer sought to represent Thomas in the ongoing domestic assault case.

After Otte, Thomas and Krumenacker discussed the matter briefly behind closed doors, the motion was granted for private reasons covered by attorney-client privilege. It means Thomas will need to line up another attorney in the case.

The move does not impact his legal representation in his Somerset County case.