Beating suspect nears second trial
A man who will be tried for a second time next month on allegations he beat a friend to death in El Jebel 3 1/2 years ago nearly landed in jail last week when he failed to appear at a pre-trial hearing.Russell K. Thompson was supposed to appear before Judge Richard Hart in Eagle County District at 9 a.m. Thompson, who is representing himself, apparently had trouble finding a ride to Eagle from Colorado Springs, but made it to the court before Hart enforced the warrant for his arrest. Thompson is scheduled to go on trial next month on the charge of manslaughter for the beating death of a co-worker, Timothy “Chico” Destromp. They were drinking beer and vodka in Destromp’s El Jebel apartment when police believe an argument broke out.Thompson ran to an adjacent house that night, covered in blood, and called 911. He confessed to beating Destromp to death with his fists. He confessed on videotape twice more in less than 24 hours, but later recanted. He claimed he passed out in Destromp’s apartment and, during his blackout, the man got into a fight with a neighbor.Thompson was tried on a charge of second-degree murder. He was found guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter by a jury but the conviction was overturned.