Daniel Rice Convicted in Fatal Sucker Punch of Homeless Man

Ricky Thompson, a 49-year-old homeless man, was panhandling in Aurora last year when he was punched so brutally that he eventually succumbed to his injuries.

Now, Daniel Rice has been convicted of causing Thompson's death. Continue for photos and details of this brutal crime.

See also: Homelessness Being Criminalized in Ballpark Neighborhood? Advocacy Group Says Yes

As photos on Rice's Facebook page demonstrate, he's a big guy with an appearance some might describe as menacing. Here's one pic....

...and another.... ...and one more: As for the actions that landed him in trouble with the law, they're detailed in an arrest report accessed by the Aurora Sentinel for a piece published in August 2013.

Early that month, the report says Thompson asked Rice for cash outside an Aurora Walmart. Rice allegedly answered the request with a "Fuck off." Thompson is said to have responded by taking a swing at Rice, but he didn't connect.

Rice told investigators he didn't retaliate at that time, but he expressed umbrage at Thompson supposedly "asking kids for money or drugs," the Sentinel reports.

Then, on August 14, Rice was with his roommate when he saw Thompson outside a Chase bank not far from the intersection of East Quincy Avenue and South Buckley Road. The area is captured in the following interactive graphic; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

View Larger Map

The roommate quoted Rice as calling Thompson a crackhead and saying, "Watch this. I'm gonna teach this guy a lesson. I'm gonna knock this guy out."

At that point, Rice crossed Quincy and threw a haymaker at Rice, who immediately hit the ground.

There's some dispute about how many times Rice hit Thompson; there are conflicting witness reports. But Rice reportedly said that after the initial blow, he hit Thompson again as he lay prone and said, "Stay away from here and stay out of the neighborhood."

Thompson did, but not by choice. He lingered on life support for about six weeks before dying in late September. By November, Rice, who was arrested on August 20 after shaving his head and goatee in an apparent effort to alter his appearance, had been accused of manslaughter.

Now, Rice has been convicted of that charge and first-degree assault. His sentence is pending. Look below to see his booking photo.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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