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.