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Suspect Claims Self-Defense After Woman's Body Is Found In His Storage Unit

Gregory A. Thomas allegedly confessed to the killing Lavanya Jain, but said it was self defense. They met via an escort service.  

By Kevin Dolak
Gregory Thomas Pd

The discovery of a young woman’s body in a trash can inside of a Colorado storage facility unit led police to a local resident. He now faces first-degree murder charges but has reportedly claimed he killed the woman in self-defense. 

Gregory A. Thomas, 36, fled to Washington state from his home in Thornton, Colorado, police said, after the remains of 21-year-old Commerce City resident Lavanya Destoniy Jain were found in Thomas' storage unit when a staffer reported a “terrible smell.” Thomas now faces charges of first-degree murder and tampering with a deceased human body, according to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. 

The Adams County Coroner, who examined the remains, officially determined that Jain was shot to death. 

On May 21, the day after Adams County investigators discovered the remains, detectives served a search warrant on a home in Thornton. The sheriff’s office said that the search revealed the home as an “additional crime scene” and led investigators to collect multiple items of evidence. 

On June 6, authorities located Thomas by the Canadian border in a Lynden, Washington RV park, according to the sheriff’s office. Thomas was arrested for an outstanding Colorado parole violation arrest warrant and extradited back to the state. He was arrested on Monday at the Adams County Detention Facility while being held on that warrant.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by KCNC Denver, Thomas allegedly confessed to police but said he killed Jain in self-defense. The two met via an escort service and they agreed to live together in his home and “commit white-collar crimes,” the affidavit states. Thomas allegedly told investigators that he shot Jain after she pointed a gun at him and accused him of lying about wanting to join her in the planned criminal activity. The affidavit says he told police that he had no intention to commit crimes and had used phony numbers to fake progress to Jain. 

“Gregory left her on the floor for a while,” the arrest affidavit states. “He thought about calling the police but all he could think about was him getting in trouble and going to jail.”

No court date has been listed for Thomas on his inmate record. It’s unclear if Thomas has an attorney to speak on his behalf at this time. 

A call placed to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office by Oxygen.com on Thursday was not immediately returned. 

The case is also under review for possible charges yet to be determined by the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Adams County, police said. 

On a GoFundMe page posted after her death, Jain is said to have been “a friend, family member, daughter, sister, niece, aunt and more.”

“She is loved and missed dearly,” the page says. “The grief and pain is unbearable for me to know she will need to be cremated and can’t even have an open casket. The family is numb with the dreadful loss of their loved one.

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