The Kelly Thomas wrongful death civil trial ended this morning before it ever began with a nearly $5 million settlement reached. Ron Thomas, Kelly's father, sought legal redress from the city and its police department following his sons' death five days after being bludgeoned by Fullerton cops on July 5, 2011.
KFI AM 640 reported last Friday that an agreement had been reached but without noting any terms. Fullerton city council called an emergency closed session meeting this morning on the case at the time the trial had been slated to begin. The settlement amount was disclosed shortly thereafter in court.
Lawyers for the city and police planned to argue that Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia, died not as the result of police misconduct, but from his own heart condition. Mini opening statements given last Monday during jury selection noted that potential jurors had to contemplate the nature of Ron's relationship to his son and possibly decide on a monetary value of it.
"We believe no force should have been used," attorney Garo Mardirossian stated on behalf of his client Ron Thomas. The comments made by both sides last week is where the civil trial both began and ended with today's settlement.
Fullerton also settled a civil suit in 2012 with Cathy Thomas, Kelly's mother, for $1 million. Two years later, a jury in a criminal trial found former Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli not guilty of various charges from second degree murder to excessive force.
Ron Thomas and his attorney will be holding a press conference in Los Angeles today at 2 p.m. to answer questions about the settlement beyond the cash amount.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2