Thompson bailed from jail | AspenTimes.com

Thompson bailed from jail

A man awaiting trial next month for second-degree murder has been bailed out of jail by an anonymous sympathizer.

Russell Thompson said he was freed from Eagle County Jail Saturday after the person posted the $70,000 bond. Thompson’s family was unable to raise the funds so he has spent most of the last 13 months in jail.

Thompson said he didn’t know the person who posted his bond until Saturday. “It was a very pleasant surprise,” he said.

The person wants to remain anonymous, and Thompson is honoring his wishes. The supporter learned of the case through newspaper accounts and personal inquiries, according to Thompson.

Thompson is accused of beating a drinking buddy to death in El Jebel in February 2001. Timothy “Chico” Destromp was found beaten to death in his apartment on Valley Road. Authorities said he suffered multiple blows to his head by a fist – enough blows to break nearly every bone in his face.

Thompson confessed on the night of the beating and the following day but has since recanted. He said he was so intoxicated on the night of the homicide that he initially thought he must have beaten his friend during an argument.

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After looking at the evidence, Thompson became convinced that someone else was responsible. For example, his clothes didn’t have much blood on them and his hands weren’t swollen or cut, he said.

Thompson is representing himself after he fired his attorney from the Eagle County public defender’s office. He claimed the attorney was unwilling to defend him properly and was trying to force him into a plea agreement.

Aspen attorney Jim True talked to Thompson’s family about taking the case but decided against it.

Thompson is scheduled to go to trial April 29. He does have the assistance of a court-appointed legal adviser, an investigator, a forensic expert and a toxicologist. Thompson is trying to piece together a case that shows other people had the motives and opportunity to kill Destromp.

He said he doesn’t have any prospects for hiring an attorney before his trial. However, he said he has received support from people who learn about the facts of his case, like the person who posted bond.

“It’s because I can prove it,” Thompson said, referring to his innocence. “I’m embarrassed I’m in this position, but I’m telling the truth.

“There’s a killer out there. He’s free and it’s not me. [The authorities] know it.”

Thompson alleged that investigators didn’t do a thorough job because his initial confession convinced them he was their man.

Thompson is living with his sister in Colorado Springs while awaiting trial. He said he is spending his days at the law library, preparing his defense.

Thompson visited Destromp’s apartment in El Jebel Tuesday and toured the crime scene and two adjacent apartments. Dried blood was still splattered on the kitchen cabinets and covered the floor where Destromp was found.

The ramshackle A-frame building were Destromp lived is scheduled to be demolished any day as part of a redevelopment project.