Thomas Jodry’s parents are still seeking justice after their son was killed by a drunk driver on the way to school. The family is now suing the state of New Jersey for negligence and failing to protect its students from drunk drivers.
David Allen Knight, a former police officer in the United States, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. His parents are still seeking justice for their son.
The 21-year-death old’s was two years ago on Sept. 14.
ATASCADERO — On Sept. 14, it will be two years since Thomas (Tommy) Jodry, an Atascadero resident, died tragically.
A vigil will be conducted on Saturday, Sept. 11, from noon to 6 p.m. to commemorate his memory and the second anniversary of his passing.
Thomas’ parents invite friends and the public to join them at the San Luis Obispo Parking Structure on the intersection of Marsh and Chorro Street, where he died.
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
Thomas’ parents are still seeking justice and the truth two years later for their son’s murder.
Thomas was just 21 years old when he died after spending the day with Atascadero resident David Allen Knight on the second level of a downtown San Luis Obispo parking structure on Sept. 14, 2019. (56).
Even yet, the numerous odd events surrounding Knight and their son on that fateful September day prompted Bill and Mary Jane Jodry to continue their search for answers.
The Date of the Night in Question: September 14, 2019
Knight arrived to Jodry’s house about 2 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2019, and informed Bill that he was searching for Thomas.
Bill went to fetch his son, who had forgotten about his intentions to go see art in San Luis Obispo with Knight (SLO). Knight, an Atascadero photographer, promised Thomas that he would assist him in getting his work published.
Knight had bought a cactus from Thomas, who cultivated and sold cacti from his house in Atascadero, two weeks before.
Knight has sent Thomas text messages wanting to hang out since buying the cactus, according to Thomas’ parents. Finally, Thomas consented to accompany Knight to SLO for art seeing.
Bill accompanied Thomas to his cactus garden, where Knight inquired about Bill’s paternity. Knight then proceeded to introduce himself.
Thomas hopped into Knight’s vehicle and the two drove to SLO, and Bill never saw his son alive after that.
What occurred next, according to Bill, is cobbled together from police reports, phone records, and coroner reports.
That weekend was Cal Poly’s “WOW” week, so instead of fighting the crowds, the two headed to Montana de Oro for lunch before heading to downtown SLO.
Thomas texted his buddy about 7 p.m., writing, “I will be home shortly, and we are finally going to look at art.” Thomas learned from his friend’s answer that he would be camping with his girlfriend for a few days.
Thomas and Knight arrived to the Frog and Peach about 8 p.m., according to workers.
According to phone records, Knight texted Thomas at 8:05 p.m. with the words “fuck you.” Knight is alleged to have said that Thomas did not acknowledge the communication.
Knight took out a tab at the bar. Thomas drank many cocktails in under an hour, including Knight’s.
The two sat at the bar, as shown on surveillance footage. Knight may be seen swapping drinks with Thomas and never drinking his own.
Two guys are seated on one side of Thomas and Knight, while another man is seated on the other side, separated by a few seats.
Knight can also be seen pulling Thomas’s head down to his crotch with the bill of his hat in the footage. The moment after is captured in a still image from the video. Two of the guys seated next to Thomas are staring over at him, as if they’ve overheard something. Thomas then seems to be looking at the two guys who are conversing.
At approximately 8:55 p.m., Knight paid their bill with his credit card. Their bill was said to be in excess of $100.
After then, Thomas was spotted stumbling and faceplanting on the pavement outside the bar.
Thomas then tried to travel a block eastward down Higuera to the pedestrian walkway between the old Gap store and Downtown Centre Cinemas, according to reports. Thomas then fell again, this time dropping his phone, which Knight was able to retrieve.
According to Knight’s police testimony, he did not see Thomas again after that.
Several witnesses claim to have seen Thomas fleeing from Knight, pleading for assistance and claiming that he was being pursued.
A witness phoned 911 about 9:15 p.m. to report that someone had fallen, and an ambulance was sent to the site.
Officer body camera video shows a guy approaching the officer caring for Thomas, subsequently identified as Knight. Knight inquired as to what had occurred, and when the officer requested that he come to a halt, Knight said, “I know him, that is Tommy, but I don’t want to go on record as knowing him.”
Knight gave the officer Thomas’ name and address, but refused to identify himself or give any further information.
Knight went away a few moments later and texted Thomas, asking, “Where are you?”
Thomas was taken to Sierra Vista Hospital by ambulance shortly after, where he was declared dead at 9:49 p.m.
At the moment, his blood alcohol level was estimated to be about 0.38.
Bill and his wife came home from a Concert in the Park about 10 p.m. around this period. They were concerned that Thomas had not yet returned home and attempted to call him on his phone, but received no response.
The Jodrys then heard a knock at the door at 10:20 p.m.—it was Knight. “I’ve been trying to contact him,” Bill remarked as he inquired about Tommy’s whereabouts.
“I have his phone,” Knight replied, handing it to Bill.
“I came upon it on the ground. Knight informed Bill, “He must have dropped it,” and Bill allowed him inside the home.
Knight then continued to tell the Jodrys what had occurred that evening, claiming that he had misplaced Thomas downtown and then heard police sirens.
Knight said police he went to the scene near the parking garage and spotted someone on the ground who looked like Thomas, but police refused to provide him with any information, according to Bill.
The Jodrys were then instructed by Knight to contact the hospital.
Bill, a registered nurse at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, ended up phoning the nursing supervisor’s personal phone in search of answers.
In the meanwhile, Mary Jane tried to interrogate Knight in the living room. Knight then came in and told Mary Jane that he was attempting to listen in on Bill’s discussion in the next room.
Bill was told by the nursing supervisor that their son Tommy had died and that the police were on their way to the hospital.
Bill and Mary Jane started to weep after hearing the news. Then they saw Knight on the sofa, rocking back and forth, saying, “How could Thomas do this to me?”
Knight never returned or phoned, despite Bill’s suggestion that he depart and return the following day to explain what had occurred.
Mary Jane’s brother, who lives only a few minutes away, arrived to pick them up and drive them to the hospital. Knight was still in the Jodry’s living room when he arrived.
Knight was asked what was going on by Bill’s brother-in-law. “He’s dead,” Knight answered.
When the brother requested Knight to repeat the question, Knight said, “He’s dead!” in an even harsher tone.
Knight is said to have then dashed to his vehicle.
The Jodrys met with authorities at the hospital after identifying their son’s corpse.
When the Jodrys were asked how they knew they needed to go to the hospital, they replied that Knight had been to their house. Officers then informed the Jodrys that Knight had mistakenly identified Jodry as Thomas and had then “run off.”
Tommy Jodry: Who Was He?
On December 31, 1997, Thomas Robert Jodry was born.
He enjoyed playing with his Woody doll, going to school, athletics, and playing the guitar, as well as being a Cub Scout.
Tommy was most passionate about producing art and expanding his cactus company.
Tommy’s stencil work is currently on exhibit at Bloke Outfitters in Atascadero, on Entrada Avenue.
Some of his stencil work has been reproduced on t-shirts, and an A-Town logo he designed has been stitched on a cap. Both are available through Bloke, with 10% of the profits from the Justice for Thomas collection going toward the expenses of duplicating Tommy’s artwork so that his passion may be shared with the rest of the world.
In addition, Bloke owner Farron Walker has dedicated a cactus garden in front of the store’s display to Tommy’s memory.
“He [Thomas] was a lovely young man,” Thomas’ parents said. He was a profound thinker with a high IQ. This is how everyone who knew him recalls him. He was always willing to listen to others, and people often remarked on his kindness.”
Tommy left behind a large stencil art collection, a cactus garden, and a lot more.
Tommy, according to his parents, has a bright future ahead of him.
At the vigil on Saturday, Sept. 11, from noon to 6 p.m., Thomas’ story and memory will be shared.
The Jodry also wants to raise awareness about the need for additional security cameras and guards in parking garages.
Knight is being sued by Bill and Mary Jane for wrongful death. They accuse Knight of supplying their son with booze before his untimely death at a pub in downtown San Luis Obispo.
More witnesses from that night have yet to be found or come forward, according to the Jodrys. They are requesting that anybody with information contact them.
Thomas’s parents are offering a $10,000 prize to anybody who can help them figure out what occurred in the parking garage in 2019.
Visit justiceforthomas.com for additional information about Thomas, the night in question, and pictures of witnesses who have yet to be identified.
The Jodrys are asking anybody with information to call them at (805)538-8753.
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