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January 22, 2014

Branford standoff suspect sentenced to prison

Woman gets 1 year and a day for March 2013, 4-hour stand off

Live Oak —

A Branford woman was sentenced Thursday in a Suwannee County courtroom to serve one year and one day in a Florida Department of Corrections prison for resisting arrest with violence with a firearm that happened during a four hour standoff in late March 2013. 

Janice Wilson Thomas, 49, 4347 284th St., Branford, was initially charged with attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, nine counts of aggravated assault with a firearm on law enforcement officers and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. However, the state reduced all charges  to resisting arrest with violence with a firearm. Following her prison sentence, Thomas will spend five years on probation.  

The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office reported on March 26, 2013, at about 4:30 p.m., an officer responded to 4347 284th St., Branford, in reference to Thomas, who allegedly attempted to commit suicide by pills. While en route, the officer was advised by dispatch that the husband stated he had heard a gunshot and Thomas was not responding to him calling for her. 

When the officer arrived at the scene, he was informed by the husband that Thomas was locked in her bedroom located on the northwest side of the home. When the officer walked inside the home and found the bedroom door locked, he knocked on the door and announced sheriff’s office, but there was no answer. The officer repeated the statement several times before attempting to kick the door open, with the end result of having to shoulder the door open. When the door opened, the officer entered the room and observed Thomas sitting cross legged on the bed and pointing a gun at him. As he ducked back out of the bedroom door, the officer heard a gunshot. He then exited the home and took cover outside.

Thomas came outside a few minutes later holding the gun in her right hand and stated that if he did not leave she would start shooting. 

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