Baby-killer pleads guilty in York City tot's death

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
  • Jonathan Thompson's sentencing is set for Friday, Oct. 20, in York County Court.

The father of York City infant Javon Thompson has pleaded guilty to killing the 2-month-old last year and now awaits sentencing.

Called "Wodie" by his family, Javon was declared dead June 10, 2016, at Hershey Medical Center after being removed from life support, according to court documents.

Jonathan Colby Thompson

York City Police have said Javon died of multiple traumatic injuries.

Jonathan Colby Thompson, 31, of Owings Mills, Maryland, pleaded guilty Friday, Sept. 1, in York County Court to third-degree murder, according to senior deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy.

It was an open plea, meaning there was no agreement as to Thompson's punishment, Murphy said.

Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder has ordered a pre-sentence investigation to help him determine Thompson's sentence, court records state.

Sentencing is set for Friday, Oct. 20.

Murphy confirmed that at the time of sentencing the prosecution will have its own recommendation for the judge.

Thompson is facing a maximum possible sentence of 20 to 40 years in state prison.

His Lancaster-based defense attorney, John Rutkowski, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

The background: York City Police have said Thompson was supposed to care for his son while Javon's mother, Allison Barnhart, was working.

On May 19, 2016, Thompson told Barnhart that Javon had fallen off a bed in their then-home in the 400 block of Juniper Street, documents state. He said he noticed the tot was vomiting afterward and showed a decreased level of activity, police said.

Javon was taken to York Hospital the next day, given medication and discharged, court documents state.

On May 25, 2016, Javon was again in Thompson's care when Thompson texted Barnhart saying "Wodie is not moving" and "help, help, help," court documents state.

Thompson claimed he was feeding Javon when the baby became unresponsive, so he put the tot in a bathtub and ran the water, police have said.

Barnhart rushed home and performed CPR on Javon until an ambulance crew arrived, documents state.

What the killer said: In court Friday, Thompson "acknowledged he was rough with the child, and that he threw him on a couch," according to Murphy, who said both he and Judge Snyder asked the defendant questions in court about what had happened to Javon.

"I asked him whether the child was able to control his head during any of these times (of rough treatment)," the prosecutor said; Thompson said no, Javon could not.

"The judge asked him questions about whether he knew what could happen," and Thompson confirmed he did know his child could get injured, according to Murphy.

"Despite that, he still did what he did," Murphy told The York Dispatch.

What mother saw: Barnhart later told investigators that Javon was fussier than a normal baby and would cry a lot.

She told police she had become concerned several times over how Thompson would handle the baby in an aggressive manner, court documents state.

Police also say witnesses they interviewed reported seeing Thompson hold Javon upside down, pick him up by one arm and hold him by his shirt.

"Jonathan Thompson would aggressively rock (Javon) in his car seat, and ... threw (him) onto the living room couch on at least one occasion," documents state.

Barnhart — who was in court Friday to witness the murder plea — told investigators she spoke with Thompson at least once about her concerns over leaving Javon in his care, according to police.

Injuries: Javon was treated at Hershey Medical Center, where on May 26, 2016, it was determined he suffered bleeding on his brain, multiple broken ribs and seizures, documents state.

There was no visible bruising to his body, according to police.

More:Man charged in infant son's death

At that point, Javon had been placed on a ventilator and never recovered, according to court documents.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.