Thompson back in jail for alleged bond violations |

Thompson back in jail for alleged bond violations

Scott Condon
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A man awaiting trial for allegedly beating a drinking buddy to death in El Jebel last year is back in jail after allegedly violating conditions of his bond.

Russell K. Thompson spent 11 1/2 months in Eagle County Jail before he convinced a judge last week to lessen the conditions of his release. Thompson was released on $35,000 bail after successfully graduating on Jan. 31 from an alcohol-treatment program at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.

Thompson, 38, was given permission by Eagle District Judge Richard Hart to live with his sister in Colorado Springs and find gainful employment. Thompson was also required to check in daily at an after-treatment facility and take a daily Breathalyzer test. He also agreed to submit to a random urinalysis.

Thompson allegedly failed to check in Sunday with officials at A Bridge to Awareness, a private organization in the Colorado Springs area that contracts with the criminal justice system, said authorities at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s office.

“He was supposed to check in. He didn’t and that’s why he got picked up,” said Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Scott Hunter.

DA Mike Goodbee said the sheriff’s office filed an affidavit for Thompson’s arrest, and El Paso County deputies arrested him Tuesday at the home of his sister.

Thompson was booked into the El Paso County Jail and is being held for “failure to comply” with conditions of his bond, according to a jailer. He will be taken back to Eagle County Jail, she said.

Goodbee said he did not believe Thompson had failed any Breathalyzer tests.

In an interview with The Aspen Times Monday, before his latest arrest, Thompson was upbeat about being out on bond. He was enthusiastic about working on his defense as well as getting back to work as a carpenter.

“I’m sober, I’m clean, and my mind is working sharp,” said Thompson.

He knew precisely that he had spent 337 days in jail before his family was able to post bail. Thompson said he would have been out sooner except the original conditions of his bond were so costly that his family couldn’t afford them.

After he graduated from the alcohol-treatment program, he convinced Judge Hart to lessen the bond conditions.

Earlier, the judge had reduced the bond amount from $100,000 to $75,000 and, last May, to $35,000.

Hart is also the judge that signed the arrest warrant when Thompson allegedly failed to meet those conditions.

Thompson is awaiting trial in March for second-degree murder.

He is accused of beating Timothy “Chico” Destromp to death on Feb. 10, 2001, in Destromp’s apartment in El Jebel. The two co-workers were drinking throughout the day and evening on a Saturday, and a fistfight allegedly broke out that night.

Thompson called police from a neighboring residence and confessed to beating Destromp. He later recanted, claiming he had been in an alcohol-induced haze and just figured he had committed the crime.

Thompson said evidence he found while working on his defense convinced him someone else came into the apartment and killed Destromp. He is accusing Eagle County authorities of relying on his confession and not conducting a proper and thorough investigation. He maintains that no physical evidence links him to the case.

Thompson is defending himself after firing his public defender for alleged incompetence and unwillingness to work on a proper defense.


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