Judge recuses herself in murder case

Published 12:25 am Friday, August 5, 2016

VIDALIA — Louisiana District 7 Division A Judge Kathy Johnson recused herself Thursday in a Vidalia double murder case because of former professional relationship with one of the victim’s stepmother.

Curt Thornton, 35, is charged in the killings of his estranged wife, Angela Thornton, 36, and John Tibbs, 36, both of whom were killed April 6 at Angela Thornton’s 1649 Azalea Drive residence in Vidalia. Thornton was scheduled for a trial of motions on Thursday.

Johnson had previously employed Peggy Blount, Angela Thornton’s stepmother, as a court reporter until December 2013.

Email newsletter signup

The trial of motions will be moved to the Division B court to be tried by Judge John Reeves on Aug. 10.

On June 1, Thornton pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. The state is not seeking the death penalty, but the mandatory sentence for the charge is life without benefits.

Thornton is alleged to shot the pair with a .44-cal. pistol in the early morning hours, as Curt and Angela Thornton’s children were asleep in another room of the residence. One of the children reportedly discovered the bodies and called 911 later that morning.

Tibbs had been shot once, while Angela Thornton had been shot several times.

Entry into the house that night had reportedly been made by using a torch to cut through the back door.

Thornton reportedly fled on his motorcycle following the shootings, but was captured that same afternoon in Amite County. After being stopped for riding without a motorcycle helmet, he is alleged to have admitted to the shootings to the deputy who arrested him.

Thornton was being held in jail Thursday without bond.