Accused Cattle Thief Stalks Reporters
SAN ANGELO, TX — San Angelo LIVE! Reporter Yantis Green was threatened in a Tom Green County Courthouse courtroom by accused cattle thief Dusty Thompson Tuesday morning during a pretrial hearing. For his protection, Green had to be escorted by courthouse security to his vehicle.
District Judge Ben Woodward was presiding over a series of pretrial hearings for dozens of defendants and was setting jury trial dates for those ready to go to trial. The session began around 9 a.m. in courtroom A on the second floor of the Tom Green County Courthouse.
Green was sitting on the bench near the door with jail inmates behind him and defendants and their family members setting in front of him. Reporters cover stories in the courthouse on a daily basis. They have a first amendment right to be there and report on any case deemed of public interest. The public has a right to know who is accused of committing crimes in and around their homes and neighborhoods.
When Judge Woodward called Thompson’s name, Thompson stood up as he was supposed to. When the judge finished, Thompson walked back to where Green was setting and sat down glaring at the San Angelo LIVE! reporter.
Thompson said, “I hope you saved some of that money you stole; you’re going to need it for attorney fees.”
Green didn’t respond to Thompson. He sat there doing his job. When Thompson’s attorney Gonzalo Rios was leaving the courtroom, he walked by Green. Thompson asked his attorney, “Are you going to talk to this clown?” Rios told Thompson he would and they both left the courtroom.
Green moved down the bench by the jailers who were there escorting the inmates to their hearings. Green told them that Thompson had threatened him in the courtroom. One of them asked what he said. Green told the deputy that Thompson threatened to sue him. Out of an abundance of caution, the jailers contacted courthouse security.
While Green was waiting on courthouse security, Rios came back into the courtroom and sat beside him. Rios kindly asked to speak to Green privately. Thompson was still standing in the hall just outside the courtroom.
Green said just a minute.
When courthouse security arrived, they told the reporter they would escort him out of the building and to his vehicle. Green said he wanted to talk with Rios before he left. Security deputies escorted Rios and Green across the hall to a private room where Rios and Green discussed the articles written and why Thompson was so upset. Rios explained that filing a notice in court for a defendant stating that defendant was eligible for probation was normal. Green explained to the attorney that the notice filed with the court seemed unusual to anyone who was not an attorney. Rios agreed that it could seem unusual but it wasn’t. Rios told the reporter he had advised his client not to talk to the reporter again and not to bother him.
After the article about the filing was published. Thompson went to the San Angelo LIVE! Office and videoed employees vehicles and license plates. San Angelo LIVE! Employees filmed Thompson and words were exchanged, according to security video footage we reviewed. Thompson proudly declared his identity. After a reporter inquired what his name was, he replied, “Dusty Thompson. That’s me!”
Green and Rios shook hands and the meeting ended. The deputies escorted Green downstairs. Thompson was standing in the lobby glaring at the reporter as he walked by. The deputies escorted Green across the courthouse lawn, across the street and to his parked vehicle.
Thompson is a public figure. He ran unsuccessfully for Tom Green County Constable. He was subsequently arrested and charged with theft of livestock. His jury trial was scheduled for Feb. 19, but was postponed because video evidence requested from the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t been provided to the defense yet.
Thompson’s trial has been postponed until March.
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