Coverage of the trial involving two ex-police officers charged in the death of a homeless man

Father of Kelly Thomas "Elated"

By Ted Chen and Bill French
|  Thursday, Sep 22, 2011  |  Updated 12:02 PM PDT
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Fullerton Officers Fighting for Careers, Freedom

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Ron Thomas "Elated" By Charges

Father of Kelly Thomas surprised by tough charges

Fullerton Officers Fighting for Careers, Freedom

The two officers charged in the Kelly Thomas beating case will have to fight for their careers, and their freedom. A high profile defense attorney is already on board.
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Ron Thomas was bracing for the opposite of what he heard. As he watched the Orange County District Attorney announce charges in the alleged beating death of his son by two police officers, he never expected to hear the word murder.

But that's exactly what District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said at Wednesday's news conference. 

"When I first heard murder, it was very hard to hold my composure," said an emotional Ron Thomas. "I didn't expect this. I am elated. This is really what I wanted."

More: Two Officers Charged With Beating

Listening to the details, though,  was tough.  Bit by bit, District Attorney Tony Rackaukas described the death of Kelly Thomas.He told how the homeless man was allegedly threatened by one officer, and then ignored by other officers as he was brutally beaten. 

All of it was too much for Kelly's stepmother who still couldn't understand

"That officer knew Kelly," said Dana Pape, Kelly Thomas's Stepmother. "Why he took it to the extreme he did, I can't imagine what was going through  his mind, or why the others didn't make him stop." 

As she and the crowd outside absorbed it all, Ron Thomas went inside to meet the District Attorney he had been convinced wouldn't deliver for his son.

When he came out again, he told reporters he had said thank you.

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