Wednesday, August 17, 2011

County Attorney Moves Forward In Death Threat Case

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 3:00 PM

On May 3, UA assistant professor Roberto Rodriguez discovered a series of violent messages left on his office voice mail — death threats that made it clear the caller was interested in taking a .357 Magnum to the Mexican American Studies professor, an outspoken supporter of Tucson Unified School District's ethnic-studies classes.

In the story we ran July 7, the Weekly was told the case was investigated by the UA Police Department and concluded on Thursday, June 30.

UAPD then referred the case to the Pima County Attorney's Office. County Attorney Barbara LaWall told the Weekly her office was reviewing the case for possible prosecution.

The wait was beginning to concern Rodriguez, who told the Range recently he was starting to worry, considering he gets back to his classes on Monday, Aug. 22.

According to Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Copenhaver-Celi the Pima County Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint in the Pima County Justice Court on July 22, but the case didn't become public record until the defendant was served.

Copenhaver-Celi told the Range that she only received word from the Mojave County Sheriff's Department yesterday that the defendant, Randall Leon Thompson, was served on Aug. 8 to face an arraignment hearing on Sept. 28 at 8:30 a.m.

The reason Thompson's case goes to the Justice Court is because he's being charged with misdemeanors — five counts: Three separate counts of threatening or intimidating; one count of use of telephone of threatening to harass; and a final count of harassment.

"These are based on the facts of the case and appropriate charges," Copenhaver-Celi said, adding that she'll likely be handling the case.

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