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Judge remains critical a week after beating at law office
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    SAVANNAH, Ga. — A 74-year-old judge remained hospitalized in critical condition Monday, a week after he was found severely beaten inside his law office in Jesup.
    Friends said Glenn Thomas Jr., a Recorders Court judge and attorney who also served 30 years as district attorney for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, has been unable to undergo surgery because of swelling in his brain.
    Jerry Hollis, a longtime friend, said he visits Thomas daily at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. He said the judge’s condition hasn’t changed for several days.
    ‘‘He’s on a respirator, in a medically induced coma,’’ Hollis said.
    Thomas was found beaten and bloodied June 25 at his office desk. Authorities say a man struck him several times in the head with a blunt weapon, took his wallet and car keys and stole his pickup truck.
    Bobby Rex Stribling, 45, has been charged with aggravated battery in Thomas’ beating. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Stribling last Tuesday in Brunswick, where they found the judge’s stolen truck.
    Wayne County Sheriff John Carter said last week that Stribling confessed to the crime, but authorities have given no motive.
    Stribling was released from prison in 2004 after serving eight years for burglary, theft and other charges prosecuted by Thomas’ office during his last year as district attorney.
    Stephen Kelley, the current district attorney for the Brunswick circuit that includes Wayne County, declined to comment Monday on whether Stribling might have been out for revenge against Thomas.
    But Kelley said he was certain Thomas would not have tried the case personally, but rather would have let one of his assistant prosecutors handle it.
    Bruce Palmer, another close friend of Thomas, said some of the swelling seemed to have gone down in the judge’s face when Palmer visited his hospital room Sunday. But he said Thomas still had significant swelling to his brain.
    The night before he was beaten, Palmer said, Thomas gathered friends and family for a surprise birthday party for his wife, Ina.
    ‘‘One day he’s happy and jubilant and carrying on, and the next day he’s in the emergency room,’’ Palmer said.
    Thomas’ wife and their grown children have kept a vigil at the hospital for the past week.
    ‘‘They have a lot of grit,’’ Palmer said. ‘‘They might be crying on the inside, but they don’t show it on the outside.’’

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