Jurors listen to alleged threats

LISBON – Jurors listened in Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike’s courtroom Tuesday to recordings of what prosecutors are deeming as threats by John Thompson Jr. toward his girlfriend within an hour of his arrest last June.

Thompson, 23, Chester Avenue, East Liverpool, is charged with intimidation of a victim in a criminal case.

According to the testimony of East Liverpool Patrolman John Headley, police were called to the home of Desiree Browning and Thompson, who lived on St. Clair Avenue on June 11, 2012. Thompson was taken into custody on a warrant from an unrelated case.

Police had been called by the 10-year-old son of Browning, who reportedly saw Thompson strike his mother. Browning testified Thompson is the father of only one of her five children, and the 10-year-old does not get along with Thompson, because the boy does not handle rules well.

Police investigated the allegation of domestic violence and Headley testified they found marks on Browning’s face. She filled out paperwork Headley gave her and an additional domestic violence charge was filed against Thompson.

However, while Headley was still there speaking with Browning, Thompson reportedly called Browning from the police station’s booking room. Browning put the calls on speaker phone and had Headley had listen in. The calls were also made from a recorded line and the audio from those calls was played before jurors.

“You know what’s going to happen, right,” a voice identified as Thompson’s can be heard saying. “You better be prepared. You better read the paper and know when I’m getting out.”

At one point, Thompson told her to move out, but she told him it was her home. She also told him not come back there and told him he should find somewhere else to stay.

“You just did the most (expletive) up thing you could do to yourself,” Thompson said. “You think this is a game? … I’ll be there everyday, all day until I see you.”

Headley testified after the second phone call Browning had asked him what she should do if Thompson or some one else showed up at the house. He told her to call police for help.

According to police, Thompson also made three other phone calls to other people including relatives. On one audio recording he tells someone identified as his sister, Darla Davis, about his concerns in being sent away for six months for domestic violence. Davis expressed her concerns about Thompson continuing to go back to Browning as they continue to have problems. Thompson asked Davis to help him get Browning to drop the domestic violence charge.

“You need to just go up and scare the life out of her,” he said. At another point in the audio recording he said, “You need to go up there and straighten it out because if you don’t, when I get out, I am.”

Browning testified she could not remember the exact words used in telephone conversations that day, but she was not afraid of what he said. She pointed out nothing happened and Thompson’s threats were empty ones. She claimed he sounded more hurt than upset during the phone calls.

“I love him,” she said. “I want to marry him. That’s the love of my life.”

She painted a picture of Thompson as good to her and helpful with the children. Browning said she only went through with the domestic violence charge because she did not want to call her son a liar.

“I watched my stepdad beat my mom with bricks,” Browning said, “and when I called police she said I lied and I still have a bad relationship with her.”

Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones questioned Browning about what happened the day of Thompson’s arrest. Browning said she had been arguing with neighbors and Thompson was trying to keep the peace. She was angry with him because she thought he was taking the neighbor’s side. She admitted Thompson slapped her, but noted it was their first physical fight and they had been together for five years. Jones noted police reports filed at the time stated Thompson hit her, choked her and pushed her.

Jones questioned her about other times police were called to their home, to which Browning replied those were just arguments.

She denied not attending a pretrial hearing for Thompson on the domestic violence charge because she felt threatened. Instead she said her 5-year-old needed a cast taken off his broken leg and family was more important. Browning admitted she went to the county jail to see Thompson the Sunday after the domestic violence arrest.

Browning also claimed in the end Thompson had done the right thing, pleaded guilty to the domestic violence and served six months. She offered that she had asked the prosecutor’s office to drop the current charge, but the jury was told to disregard the statement.

“I followed through with the charges,” Browning said of the domestic violence. “He did the six months and we are ready to be a family.”

When asked about whether Browning wants her son to grow up believing it is OK to attack people or threaten them, she responded she has watched both her son and her daughter threaten other children and jump them on the playground. She also noted her son does not live with her now, but lives with her mother and she does not know what he is witnessing there.

Testimony is scheduled to resume this morning and conclude today.