Tahlequah Daily Press

March 6, 2013

Accused killer back in trouble

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Park Hill man charged with first-degree murder in Cherokee County is in more trouble for allegedly breaking into a woman’s home and assaulting her last month.

Daniel Prentice Thornburg, 43, is charged in Muskogee County with first-degree burglary, domestic abuse-assault and battery, and threatening to perform an act of violence.

The victim sought and received an emergency protective order against Thornburg in Cherokee County this week. She claims Thornburg kicked in the back door of her home in Muskogee and began to hit and kick her. He then choked her, the victim says, and held a knife to her throat while threatening her.

The victim said Thornburg told her he had been found incompetent on a first-degree murder case, and allegedly said he could kill again and get away with it.

A hearing is set for March 13, when a judge will decide whether there is cause to place a protective order in effect.

Thornburg was arrested Feb. 27 on a warrant for the charges filed in the Muskogee County case. He was charged with first-degree murder after another man, Robert Lee Smallen, was charged with the same crime and faced a jury that was unable to decide the case.

Thornburg was a key witness in the first trial against Smallen, and prosecutors later charged him with the 2007 shooting death of Ronnie Hall, saying he was more involved in Hall’s death than they originally believed.

Thornburg has been deemed incompetent two times in the first-degree murder case out of Cherokee County.

Smallen is set to receive a second jury trial, tentatively set for the docket starting May 20, though the trial has been postponed several times before.