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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Man indicted for cold case murder of Buchholz High School student

After 13 years, Timothy Thomas arrested on suspicion of murder

A man was indicted by a local grand jury on murder and burglary charges in the cold case killing of a Buchholz High School student that occurred 13 years ago.

Alachua County Sheriff Emery Gainey and Eighth Circuit State Attorney Brian Kramer announced the indictment of Timothy Thomas, 33, during a news conference Monday, which included a short statement from the victim’s brother.

In the early morning hours of June 25, 2010, Sebastian Ochsenius, 16, was playing video games with a neighbor at his home in the Benwood subdivision of Gainesville. Ochsenius went to the kitchen, where he encountered a burglar who shot him multiple times.

His family rushed to the kitchen and called 911. Ochsenius was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

His brother, Boris Ochsenius, said during the press conference, “We hope as a family that you can help us get to the final chapter of this, which is bringing my brother justice. He was only 16 years of age. His life was stolen.”

Deputies believe the car Thomas used in 2010 was borrowed from a female friend, who is believed to have been inside the car while the murder occurred. While deputies do not believe she had prior knowledge of Thomas’ plans that night, Gainey encouraged anyone with information to come forward.

The woman is believed to have been 20, hispanic and short with a heavy build. The vehicle is described as a white or cream Kia Sportage or similar model.

“I know this has been a long and difficult road. We’re making some progress, but we also understand it's not over yet. Rest assured, we'll be with you every step of the way,” Gainey said during the news conference.

In 2021, new evidence emerged that led to the identification of Timothy Thomas as a suspect. Thomas is currently serving a life sentence for the 2015 attempted murder of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy in Stock Island, Fla.

Thomas has a long criminal record, with 23 felony charges and eight misdemeanors. He has been arrested by multiple law enforcement agencies for battery, burglary and attempted murder across the state, which includes arrests from the Key West Police Department to various central Florida agencies, Gainey said.

In 2015, Thomas was pulled over in Monroe County for driving with a stolen tag. A video played during Monday’s press conference showed a firefight between Thomas and the deputy, who was shot in the chest but saved by his duty-issued body armor.

Thomas was indicted Dec. 23 by an Alachua County grand jury on one count of murder while engaged in trafficking and one count of armed burglary. The indictment remains sealed, according to court records.  

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His arraignment was held Monday morning at the Alachua County Courthouse, and Thomas is being held at the Alachua County Jail on a $1 million bond. 

Thomas’ court-appointed public defender asked to withdraw from the case Monday, citing an unnamed and “irreconcilable” conflict of interest, according to court documents.

Contact Daniel Bednar at dbednar@alligator.org. Follow him on X @Danielbednar5.

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Daniel Bednar

Daniel Bednar is a first-year political science major and the Criminal Justice reporter for The Alligator. When he's not writing, you can find him scuba diving in the Keys or flying airplanes. 


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