A jury in Sierra Blanca found Tony Flint not guilty after being arrested for the beating death of Glenn Felts, a well-known Terlingua resident and owner of La Kiva.
Flint was arrested for murder in February 2014 but on Tuesday, he was found not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter.
During the trial, Flint took the stand and said he was defending himself on that February night when the two were at La Kiva.
According to the Hudspeth County Herald, Flint’s attorney Justin Low said the verdict was a vindication of his client’s claim of self-defense.
“This was clearly self-defense – and the jury understood that,” Low told the newspaper. “We think that all the evidence supported Tony’s testimony.
But even after a not guilty verdict, some Terlingua residents were left with questions.
“Maybe they dank a little too much and maybe there was an argument but to me there is no excuse with Glenn being 150 pounds and tony being 350,” said Herman Everett, the owner El Dorado Hotel in Terlingua.
For those that knew both men, it’s the self-defense argument that doesn’t make sense.
“350 pounds versus 150 and he was pleading self defense…. does that make sense?” asked Terlingua resident Douglas Paul Blackmon. “It doesn’t to us.”
Disrtict Attorney Rod Ponton also speaking out after the verdict. In a statement published in the Big Bend Gazette, Ponton said although he disagree with the jury’s decision, he respects the jury system in our country.
“The jury told me they had a couple of reasonable doubts about convicting Tony, so they said “not guilty”. The jury did not believe self defense. The jury did not say that Tony did not kill Glenn– in fact, Tony admitted to flinging Glenn against a mesquite tree, punching Glenn four times while Glenn’s head was against the tree, such that Glenn went unconscious, could not walk or stand, and then dragged Glenn to where he lay. So Tony killed Glenn,” Ponton said in the statement.
Ponton is expected to hold a town hall meeting next week to explain the verdict to Terlingua residents.
LA KIVA REOPENS
Meanwhile, La Kiva has been bought by John Holroyd, who is working to restore and reopen the restaurant and bar.
“Closing the last chapter down is going to be painful…. no question… particularly for the people who knew and loved both of those people,” Holroyd said. “This community is resilient. They are good people. They will accept the situation and simply move on.”
Holroyd plans to reopen by July or August of 2015.
“I’m definitely going to make it my own but I’ve got to remember the legacy I’ve got,” Holroyd said.
Terlingua residents also looking forward to its reopening.
Everett, who also owns another bar in town said he looks forward to having La Kiva in business again. He said more bars and restaurants will help attract more people to the area and will give people more options.
But most of all, Terlingua residents hope that even with a new owner, Felts’ spirit lives on.
“Glenn will never be forgotten no matter what happens,” Everett said.