The jury in the trial of two former Fullerton police officers charged in the beating death of Kelly Thomas watched and listened Tuesday to the full encounter between Thomas and officers. Vikki Vargas reports from the courthouse in Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.
The mother of a homeless man who died following a struggle with Fullerton police sobbed softly in court on Tuesday as prosecutors showed jurors video of the battle that led to her son's death.
Cathy Thomas, the mother of Kelly Thomas, sat through the entire 34-minute video during the second day of the trial against the officers accused of beating her son.
“When it gets to the point where they strike the first blow, it gets to me,” Cathy Thomas said.
The video was synced to audio from the officers' digital audio recorders. The audio portion was then played again in court, requiring jurors to listen to the beating a second time.
In the audio, jurors could hear Kelly Thomas shouting, “Dad, dad, help me!”
“Hearing that was very painful,” Cathy Thomas said.
Thomas, whose father said had schizophrenia, was fatally wounded July 5, 2011. He died after being removed from life support five days later.
Police went to the Fullerton Transportation Center the night of the beating in response to a 911 call from the nearby Slidebar nightclub that someone was trying to break into cars outside the club. Investigators later determined Thomas was not responsible for the car break-in attempts.
Former Fullerton Police Officer Manuel Ramos is charged with second degree murder. Jay Cicinelli, a former Fullerton police corporal, is charged with using excessive force.
A third officer, Joseph Wolfe, faces charges in a separate trial.
Ron Thomas, a former sheriff deputy, says his late son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. But the officers’ defense attorneys say there's no proof of the diagnosis.
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