If Thursday was a particularly bad day for Robert Thornburgh Jr., he showed it only by the animated whispers he sometimes directed into the ear of his attorney, Rudy Taylor, as the day began and ended in 35th District Court.
First, a jury convicted Thornburgh, 45, of Brownwood, of two counts of sexual assault of a child after deliberating for about an hour. Thornburgh faces a minimum of 25 years in prison.
Then his ex-girlfriend, Rachel Baker Anderson, 30, who now lives in Lubbock, said in Thornburgh's punishment hearing that she had once seen Thornburgh involved in an act of bestiality.
As the court day ended at 5 p.m., Anderson said she hopes Thornburgh is sentenced to life in prison. Then Anderson began crying, pointed at Thornburgh as shouted "you (expletive) up my life!"
Thornburgh's punishment hearing will resume at 9 a.m. today before District Judge Steve Ellis. Thornburgh stood trial on allegations that he had sex with a high school freshman on numerous occasions throughout most of 2006. The girl was 14 and Thornburgh was 38 at the time.
While Thornburgh stood trial on allegations involving the then-14-year-old girl, prosecutor Sam Moss presented evidence that Thornburgh is also accused of having sexual contact with three other teenage girls.
Those additional allegations are listed in indictments returned earlier by Brown County grand juries.
Taylor at first sought to show that the 14-year-old girl was a scorned teenager who had unsuccessfully pursued Thornburgh after Thornburgh befriended her and tried to help her through family issues.
Taylor's defense changed after Moss introduced evidence of the additional allegations. Taylor maintained that the teen girls had lied about Thornburgh. The lies were intended to hurt Thornburgh and bolster one of his daughters in a custody dispute involving Thornburgh, that daughter and the daughter's son — Thornburgh's grandson — in a now-resolved custody issue, Taylor sought to convince jurors.
As Thornburgh's punishment hearing began late Thursday afternoon, Moss presented evidence that Thornburgh has two previous burglary convictions and was serving a 24-year parole.
Moss had time for one witness — Anderson, Thornburgh's ex-girlfriend. Anderson described a volatile and abusive relationship and said she saw events that concerned her that involved Thornburgh and one of Thornburgh's daughters.
Anderson, who has a felony drug case pending that is unrelated to Thornburgh, said she knows she could face life in prison — and, Anderson said, she hopes Thornburgh gets life in prison because of the suffering he had caused her and others.