New York killer who massacred 10 in 1984 freed from prison

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who killed 10 people in 1984 in one of New York City’s most notorious massacres has been released from prison.

The New York Times reports that Christopher Thomas was released in January from Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, New York.

Thomas killed eight children and two women in a crime known as the Palm Sunday Massacre. The sole survivor was a 13-month-old girl named Christina Rivera.

One of the first police officers to arrive at the massacre scene in Brooklyn, Joanne Jaffe, cared for the toddler that night and later helped raise her.

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Jaffe rose to become the highest-ranking female police chief in the New York Police Department before retiring this year.

She told the Times she hopes Thomas is rehabilitated “and doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

Retired Lt. Herbert Hohmann, who led the investigation, told the New York Post that Thomas “doesn’t deserve to be out on the street.”

The now 68-year-old Thomas was convicted of manslaughter in 1985. Some jurors said at the time that they had convicted him of manslaughter, not murder, because Thomas’ heavy cocaine use was a factor in the crimes.

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State law capped Thomas’ sentence at 50 years. Prison officials said that with time off for good behavior, he was eligible for release after serving two-thirds of that time.