Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 15, 2013

Invasion trial on hold

Barry Porterfield
AP-Associated Press — Potential jurors filled the courtroom but not all the witnesses were ready Monday as a trial was postponed for one of five suspects in a Pauls Valley area home invasion case dating back to 2010.

The scheduled jury trial in Garvin County District Court was for Steven Thompson, 33, also known as “Petey G.”

Thompson is among the group of five men still facing multiple criminal charges on the accusation they were the five masked men who forced their way into homes in Pauls Valley and Elmore City for apparent burglaries on Nov. 14-15, 2010.

Other suspects include Justin Robbins, 24, Tygue Stephens, 28, Jonathon Smith, 23, and Derrick Lane, 23.

Each of the suspects faces 11 felony counts that include conspiracy, burglary, robbery, assault and kidnapping.

During Monday’s proceeding it was announced the scheduled trial for Thompson would have to come later on the basis two witnesses for the state were not available to testify.

Described by a prosecutor as two of the victims in the case, neither witness apparently had yet received a subpoena despite ongoing efforts by officials with the district attorney’s office here.

District Judge Greg Dixon made it clear the trial would proceed only if the witnesses were present and ready to take the stand for testimony.

It was not the first postponement for the Thompson case as it was pushed back last May to give his defense a chance to review DNA findings.

Thompson had been scheduled to be the first of the suspects to face jurors in the home invasion case.

Two of the suspects, Smith and Stephens, had originally been set to have their trials follow the one for Thompson.

The remaining suspects, Robbins and Lane, have already waived their right to a jury trial.

For Robbins a non-jury trial has been scheduled for May 20.

At a preliminary hearing back in the summer of 2011 residents of the homes in PV and Elmore City described the terror they felt from the incidents as the men wearing hoodies and masks or bandanas forced their way into their homes.

A PV police officer also testified that during questioning most of the suspects confessed to taking part in the crimes.