Richard Thornton, 39, of Hutto, committed suicide in the home of his ex-girlfriend after being released by a municipal court judge earlier on charges of stalking the same victim.
The Travis County Judge is now under fire for the release – done so under normal guidelines for Travis County’s “soft on crime” policies.
Thornton had been arrested in 2014 – and convicted – for harassment in connection with the same victim.
One week before his suicide, Municipal Judge Celeste Villarreal signed a personal recognizance bond that enabled Thornton to go free – after stalking the victim and gained entry into his victim’s home by shooting out a glass sliding door with a shotgun.
Travis County Pretrial Release is dangerous, reckless, and a taxpayer burden
- ZERO Accountability
- ZERO Bail
- ZERO family involvement
- Simply a “pinky promise” to appear
The public should demand more accountability – email your legislators below to “Take Action.”
(reported by Patch.com – Nov/2016)
A municipal judge is under fire after allowing the release of an inmate accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend after the man committed suicide after resuming contact with the object of his obsession.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Travis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Scott Crowe has notified the county’s municipal judge that the decision to release Richard Thornton from Travis County Jail last month — despite warnings from a pretrial screening — likely aided in his attempt to kill his ex-girlfriend. Thornton, 39, took his life in the victim’s home during a final attempt to stalk her.
According to the news report, Thornton gained entry into his victim’s home by shooting out a glass sliding door with a shotgun. Just one week earlier, Municipal Judge Celeste Villarreal signed the personal recognizance bond that enabled Thornton to go free, according to the report.
The sergeant said the judge didn’t consult the Travis County District Attorney’s Office before signing the release form, according to the report. Moreover, the stalking victim was allowed a chance to protest the personal recognizance bond, the newspaper noted in its report.
In her defense, the judge said she didn’t recall signing the release form for Thornton. Still, she said she likely would’ve made the same decision based on the information that was made available to her at the time, she added.