Suspect who beat Pompano Beach movie theater patron in seat dispute arrested

Detectives say Jesse Thornton II attacked man who asked him to move from seats
Posted at 10:50 AM, Sep 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-29 10:50:03-04

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — A South Florida man accused of beating another man in a dispute about movie theater seats earlier this year has been arrested.

Jesse Thornton II, 27, was arrested Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Claudinne Caro said. He faces one count of aggravated battery with great bodily harm.

The arrest stems from a July assault at an AMC movie theater in Pompano Beach.

Marc Cohen, 63, told detectives he and his wife purchased tickets for "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One" on the evening of July 10. When they arrived at the theater, they noticed another couple sitting in their assigned seats.

Cohen politely asked them to move, but that's when the man, later identified as Thornton, became hostile, witnesses told detectives.

Cellphone video provided by the Broward Sheriff's Office showed Thornton lunge at Cohen, causing him to lose his balance and fall down the steps. The video shows Thornton standing above Cohen, repeatedly punching him in the face until other theatergoers intervened and pulled Thornton off him.

Surveillance video shows Jesse Thornton II leaving AMC movie theater in Pompano Beach after brawl, July 10, 2023
Surveillance video shows Jesse Thornton II leaving an AMC movie theater after a brawl, July 10, 2023, in Pompano Beach, Fla. Behind him is his companion, who was also sitting in another couple's seats.

Caro said Thornton and his companion left the theater before deputies arrived.

Cohen was taken to an area hospital to be treated for his injuries.

After months of investigative work, including an anonymous tip through Broward County Crime Stoppers, detectives identified Thornton as the assailant.

He was arrested Thursday with the help of Fort Lauderdale police.