Defendant in Olympia shooting disrupts trial, is removed from courtroom

Staff writerFebruary 3, 2014 

A Yelm man's criminal trial was interrupted in Olympia Monday morning when he flipped a large table in the courtroom, leading the judge to take the unusual step of removing him from the proceedings.

The defendant, Nicholas Bostrom Thompson, 30, was permitted to watch his trial via a video monitor from another room in the Thurston County Superior Courthouse as it continued. No one was hurt when he flipped the large table where his lawyer, Richard Woodrow, was sitting, about 10 a.m. Monday. Thompson also swore loudly as he flipped the table.

Thompson is charged with first-degree assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly shooting another man in the stomach outside the Fern Ridge Apartments in Olympia in December 2012. He is additionally charged with four counts of first-degree robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, and one count each of unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller said Thompson gave up his right to be present in the courtroom due to Monday's outburst. She noted that he had been repeatedly warned after shouting out during several other incidents during the trial, including on Wednesday.

"A defendant's disruptive conduct can constitute a waiver of a defendant's right to be present in the courtroom. ... Mr. Thompson is a disruptive defendant."

The court had taken steps to prevent Thompson from disrupting his trial, including placing his arms and legs in chains. Additionally, a device had been placed on Thompson's ankle that corrections officers could use to remotely deliver an electrical shock to his body if he acted out physically, Schaller said.

Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Heather Stone, one of the attorneys prosecuting Thompson, noted in court that Thompson could have hurt other people when he flipped his counsel's table over without warning.

Schaller said Thompson may be allowed to come back to the courtroom during his trial, if he assures the court there will be no more physical or verbal outbursts.

Thompson served a prison term in 2012 for a second-degree robbery conviction.

In Thompson's pending case, he is accused of punching a man in the face outside the Fern Ridge Apartments on Dec. 8, 2012, and then shooting him in the stomach, court papers state. The shooting occurred while Thompson was trying to rob four men there, demanding that they give him "everything they had," including a vehicle, according to court papers.


Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445

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