A judge has denied two Fullerton police officers' request to drop charges against them in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man, according to court documents obtained by NBC4 on Friday.
In a Jan. 4 decision (PDF), Orange County Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg ruled there was enough "competent evidence to show the commission of a crime or the defendant's connection with it."
According to the ruling, the judge didn't want to rule on whether or not reasonable force was used. Instead, that matter should be left to a jury, he wrote.
"It is the court's tentative decision to deny each defendant's motion to dismiss," Froeberg wrote.
Former Officer Manuel Anthony Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.
Thomas was beaten by six Fullerton police officers on July 5, 2011. The 37-year-old schizophrenic man died a few days later.
A third former officer, Joseph Wolfe, was charged with one felony count each of involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force. Wolfe pleaded not guilty in September.
Kelly Thomas Case: Timeline, Photos, Previous Stories
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 18.