Two Kingston men indicted in shooting death of girl

Robert “Nikki” James and Gilbert Thomas 

Gilbert Thomas, 24, and Robert “Nikki” James, 46, both of 49 Franklin Street, were indicted today by an Ulster County grand jury, according a press release from the Ulster County District Attorney’s office.   

Both Thomas and James are accused of second-degree murder for “acting in concert under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life while recklessly engaging in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another person and causing the death of that person or a third person.”

The killing occurred on December 17 at approximately 7:59 p.m. The victim, 12-year-old D’Janeira Mason, was inside her home located at 60 Van Buren Street in the city of Kingston when she was struck and ultimately died from a gunshot wound. Bullets entered the home from outside the rear entrance which faces Van Dusen Street.    

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Both defendants were charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault. James was also charged with second-degree criminal facilitation.

Both defendants were arrested by New York State Police in Kingston last week. Both were arraigned in the Town of Hurley and held without bail. Preliminary hearings scheduled to be held in the City Court of the City of Kingston were not held due to the action of the grand jury.

New York State Police Kingston was assisted by the Kingston Police Department, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, the Town of Ulster Police Department, the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Police Major Crime Unit and the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Unit.

“This investigation could not have proceeded so quickly to the point of indictment without aid from members of the community,” said Ulster County District Attorney David Clegg. “The efforts of those who have provided whatever information they possess are greatly appreciated. We all must support such cooperation in order for our investigative agencies to be successful and justice to be served.”

Clegg also lauded the efforts of all police agencies involved but especially the New York State Police for working through challenging circumstances caused by COVID safety precautions, holiday closures and the snow storm which occurred hours before the crimes occurred which left Van Dusen Street covered in more than a foot of fresh snow.

The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney David Clegg. Thomas is represented by conflict defender Brad White of the Dutchess County Public Defender’s Office. James is represented by MariAnn Connolly, Esq. Both defendants will be arraigned virtually by Ulster County Court in the coming weeks.

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