DA: Wait until we get Thompson to court
April 15, 2002
Eagle County’s top prosecutor said Friday that he won’t get baited into a battle to sway public opinion with a man accused of beating a friend to death in El Jebel last year.
Eagle County District Attorney Mike Goodbee declined to answer claims by Russ Thompson that he is wrongly accused of killing Timothy “Chico” Destromp.
“It would be unethical and inappropriate for me and Mr. [John] Clune to try this case in the press,” said Goodbee. Clune is the chief deputy district attorney who is handling the Thompson case.
Thompson is scheduled to go to trial April 29 on a charge of second-degree murder. Although he confessed three times to beating his friend to death, he has recanted. Thompson now claims he assumed he committed the act after waking from a drunken stupor in Destromp’s apartment and finding him close to death.
Thompson said his investigation into the evidence found by police led him to believe that someone else, possibly one of Destromp’s former neighbors, was responsible for the crime. He believes he received important backing last week when his forensic expert raised questions about the police investigation and conclusions.
Thompson, who is representing himself after firing his public defender, is confident he will create reasonable doubt in the mind of a jury.
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Goodbee also expressed confidence that the jury will reach the right decision. He said the evidence presented by Thompson’s forensic expert and by the prosecution will be appropriately weighed by the jury before they render a decision.
The prosecution isn’t basing its case solely on Thompson’s confessions. Goodbee said there is also forensic evidence to present. He stuck to his vow to not try the case in the press and wouldn’t discuss that evidence.