Sept. 14 marks two years since the 21-year-olds death
ATASCADERO — Sept. 14 will mark two years since the tragic death of Atascadero resident Thomas (Tommy) Jodry.
To honor his memory and the second anniversary of his death, a vigil will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11, from noon to 6 p.m.
Friends and the public are welcome to join Thomas’s parents at the San Luis Obispo Parking structure on the corner of Marsh and Chorro Street, the location of his death.
And after two years, Thomas’s parents are still seeking justice and the truth for their son’s death.
Thomas was only 21 when he fell to his death from the second floor of a downtown San Luis Obispo parking structure on Sept. 14, 2019, after spending the day with Atascadero resident David Allen Knight (56).
Still, the many strange circumstances surrounding Knight and their son on that fatal day in September led Bill and Mary Jane Jodry to keep fighting for answers about that night.
The Night in Question: Sept. 14, 2019
On Sept. 14, 2019, at around 2 p.m., Knight came to Jodry’s home and told Bill he was looking for Thomas.
Bill went to get his son, who forgot he had plans with Knight to look at art in San Luis Obispo (SLO). Knight is a photographer in Atascadero who told Thomas he would help him get his art published.
Two weeks prior, Knight purchased a cactus from Thomas, who grew and sold cacti from his home in Atascadero.
According to Thomas’s parents, since purchasing the cactus, Knight repeatedly sent text messages to Thomas asking to hang out. Finally, Thomas agreed to go with Knight to SLO to look at art.
Bill walked with Thomas to his cactus garden, where Knight proceeded to ask Bill if he was Thomas’s father. Knight then introduced himself.
Thomas got into Knight’s car, and the two left for SLO, and that was the last time Bill ever saw his son alive.
According to Bill, what happened after is pieced together from police reports, phone records, and coroner reports.
That weekend happened to be “WOW” week at Cal Poly, and rather than fight the crowd, the two went to Montana de Oro for lunch and then proceeded to downtown SLO.
Around 7 p.m., Thomas sent a text message to his friend saying, “I will be home soon, and we are finally going to look at art.” His friend’s response told Thomas he would be out of town camping with his girlfriend for a few days.
According to employees, Thomas and Knight arrived at the Frog and Peach at approximately 8 p.m.
Phone records show that at 8:05 p.m., Knight sent Thomas a text message reading, “fuck you.” It is reported that Knight said Thomas did not acknowledge the message.
While at the bar, Knight opened a tab. Within one hour, Thomas had multiple drinks, including Knight’s.
As seen in a security video, the two sat at the bar. Knight is seen to be switching his drink with Thomas’s—never to consume his own drink.
Two men are seen sitting on one side of Thomas and Knight, and another man is sitting on the other side—a few seats separating them.
Also seen in the video is Knight trying to pull Thomas’s head down to his crotch by the bill of his hat. A still photo from the video shows the moment right after. The two men sitting next to Thomas are looking over at him, appearing to have heard something. It appears Thomas then looks at the two men saying something.
Knight closed their tab, paying with his credit card, at around 8:55 p.m. Their bill was reportedly over $100.
Thomas was then seen tripping and faceplanting on the sidewalk just outside the bar.
It is then reported that Thomas struggled to walk roughly a block eastbound along Higuera to the pedestrian walkway between the former Gap store and Downtown Centre Cinemas. Thomas then fell again and dropped his phone, which Knight recovered.
According to Knight’s statement to the police, he did not see Thomas after this.
Several witnesses recall seeing Thomas running from Knight, asking for help and saying someone is after him.
Around 9:15 p.m., a bystander called 911 to say someone had fallen, and an ambulance was sent to the scene.
Police officer body camera footage shows a man—later identified as Knight—approaching the officer attending to Thomas. Knight asked the officer what happened, and after the officer asked him to stop, Knight said, “I know him, that is Tommy, but I don’t want to be on record that I know him.”
Knight informed the officer of Thomas’s name and where he lived but would not identify himself or provide further information.
Moments later, Knight walked away and sent a text message to Thomas saying, “Where are you.”
Shortly after, Thomas was transported by ambulance to Sierra Vista Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:49 p.m.
His blood-alcohol level was reported to be approximately 0.38 at the time.
During this time, Bill and his wife arrived home from a Concert in the Park around 10 p.m. They became worried that Thomas was not home yet and tried to contact his phone but received no answer.
Then at 10:20 p.m., the Jodry’s heard a knock at the door—it was Knight. Bill asked Knight where Tommy was and said, “I’ve been trying to call him.”
Knight said, “I have his cell phone,” and handed it to Bill.
“I found it on the ground. He must have dropped it,” Knight told Bill, and Bill let him in the house.
Knight proceeded to tell the Jodry’s what happened that evening and said he lost Thomas somewhere downtown and then heard police sirens.
According to Bill, Knight told them he went to the scene near the parking garage and saw someone on the ground that looked like Thomas, but police refused to give him information.
Knight then advised the Jodry’s to call the hospital.
Bill, who works at the Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center as a registered nurse, ended up calling the nursing supervisor’s personal number looking for answers.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane attempted to ask Knight questions in the living room. Knight then interrupted Mary Jane, telling her that he was trying to listen to Bill’s conversation in the next room.
The nursing supervisor informed Bill that their son Tommy had died and the police were at the hospital.
After receiving the news, Bill and Mary Jane began to cry. Then they saw Knight rocking back and forth on the couch, saying, “How could Thomas do this to me?”
Bill suggested that Knight leave and come back the next day to explain what happened—Knight never returned or called.
Mary Jane’s brother, who lives within minutes of their home, came to take them to the hospital. When he arrived, Knight was still in the Jodry’s living room.
Bill’s brother-in-law asked Knight what was going on. Knight replied, “He’s dead.”
When the brother asked Knight to repeat the question, Knight responded again in a harsher tone, “He’s dead!”
Knight then reportedly ran to his car.
After identifying their son’s body, the Jodry’s met with police at the hospital.
Police asked the Jodry’s how they knew to come to the hospital, and they explained Knight coming to their home. Officers then told the Jodry’s that Knight identified Jodry as Thomas and then “ran off.”
Who Was Tommy Jodry
Thomas Robert Jodry was born on Dec. 31, 1997.
He loved his Woody doll, going to school, playing sports and the guitar, and being a Cub Scout.
Most of all, Tommy loved creating art and growing his cactus business.
Tommy’s stencil art can now be found on display at Bloke Outfitters on Entrada Avenue in Atascadero.
Some of his stencil art has been printed on shirts and embroidered on a hat with an A-Town logo he created. Both are sold at Bloke, and ten percent of proceeds from the Justice for Thomas collection go towards costs to duplicate Tommy’s artwork so his passion can be shared with the world.
Additionally, Bloke owner Farron Walker has dedicated a cactus garden to Tommy’s memory that is directly in front of the store’s window.
Thomas’s parents say, “He [Thomas] was a wonderful young man. He was a deep thinker and very intelligent. Everyone who knew him remembers him this way. He always had time to listen to people, and people have often commented on his kindness.”
Tommy left behind family, friends, an extensive stencil art collection, his cactus garden, and so much more.
His parents said Tommy was looking toward a bright future.
Thomas’s story and memory will be shared at the vigil on Saturday, Sept. 11, from noon to 6 p.m.
The Jodry’s goal is also to raise awareness for more security cameras and guards in the parking structures.
Bill and Mary Jane have filed a wrongful death suit against Knight. They are accusing Knight of plying their son with alcohol at a bar in downtown San Luis Obispo before his tragic death.
The Jodry’s know more witnesses from that night have yet to be identified or come forward. They ask anyone with any information to please get in touch with them.
Thomas’s parents have a reward of $10,000 for anyone with information that would solve the question of what happened in the parking structure in 2019.
For more information on Thomas, the night in question, and photos of witnesses still needing to be identified, visit justiceforthomas.com.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Jodry’s at (805)538-8753.