Testimony Concludes in Trial Over Kelly Thomas’ Beating Death

After a holiday break, testimony concluded Monday in the case of two former Fullerton police officers accused in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas.

filephoto Kelly Thomas

File photo of Kelly Thomas.

The prosecution and the defense each called last witnesses, both doctors. They gave conflicting versions of what killed Thomas after a beating by two officers — Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli.

The ex-officers’ defense attorney had argued Thomas died because heart problems due to drug abuse, while the prosecution said Thomas died because his breathing was restricted during the beating.

Thomas, a homeless man diagnosed with schizophrenia, died five days after being beaten in 2011 by officers responding to a call from a local restaurant employee about a man trying to break into cars.

The Orange County coroner concluded in 2011 that Thomas died by asphyxia caused by “mechanical chest compression with blunt cranial-facial injuries sustained during physical altercation with law enforcement.”

Jurors were expected to receive jury instructions on Monday afternoon, and closing statements were due to begin Tuesday. The jury could have the case by the end of the day Tuesday or Wednesday.

Ramos faces charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, while Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and use excessive of force.