SAN ANGELO, TX – After years of pre-trial motions that constantly delayed Dusty Thompson’s trial, it appears that the accused cattle rustler may soon have his day in court. Thompson’s trial date had been pushed back several times since his arrest in October of 2016.
In a pre-trial motion on Monday morning, Thompson’s lawyer, Gonzalo Rios, and Assistant District Attorney Brent Ratekin, seemed to address any remaining items and set a tentative date for trial. The 119th District Court may begin Thompson’s trial as soon as November 18th of this year.
Ratekin was only placed on the case a month ago, but stated the State was ready to proceed to trial; ADA Jason Ferguson had been previously assigned to the case. During the hearing, Special Ranger Wadsworth was asked to testify regarding potential recordings that may have not been provided to the defense; specifically, recordings of interviews of Thompson and his wife, a witness, and transport of Thompson to the jail from the sheriff’s office.
Special Ranger Wadsworth explained that no recordings exist of the specific instances that were brought up by the defense. Wadsworth told the court that his meeting with Thompson had been limited to reading him his Miranda rights and after Thompson invoked his rights against self-incrimination, he was only present during the arrest. No further conversation transpired between the defendant and the Ranger at that time and no recording exists of that interaction.
The witness interview that was conducted by Wadsworth would have been recorded as part of standard procedure, but according to Wadsworth the tape recorder in Chief Deputy Pierce’s office was not working properly. He testified that they did not become aware of the technical issue until after the interview was concluded and the recording does not exist. Both interactions were held at the offices of the Tom Green Sheriff’s Department and not in official interview rooms.
Defense Attorney Rios also inquired if Wadsworth was aware of any recordings that may exist of the time that transpired between Thompson being arrested at the Tom Green Sheriff’s Office and being transported to the jail. ADA Ratekin objected stating that the Special Ranger was there to testify about the interactions that he had with the defendant, but Judge Woodward allowed the question. Ranger Wadsworth explained that his agency worked in an assisting capacity, so he had not been in charge of transporting Thompson to the jail on the day that he was arrested and charged with the theft of livestock.
It appears the confusion arose due to a typo in the Special Ranger Wadworth’s report that seemed to indicate a recording was made. ADA Ratekin reaffirmed to the court that they had no knowledge of any recordings that may exist, outside of the evidence that was placed in the discovery packet of the defendant's file that is made available to the defense. The defense stated they would like the record to reflect that if any such recordings ever came up during the trial or the days leading up to it, that they ask for the opportunity to review the material outside the presence of the jury.
Thompson's exact trial date is dependent on the trial of Quintin Anthony Rodriguez, another of Rios' clients, that is scheduled before Thompson's. Rodriguez will be on trial for indecency with a child by sexual contact.