Coroner Testimony Crushes Cop Lawyer Claims That Kelly Thomas Killed Himself
Four days into the sensational Kelly Thomas murder trial, it's clear that defense lawyers for two Fullerton cops accused of criminal conduct in the gory July 2011 police killing will rely largely on half-truths, complete distortions and semi-cleverly spun nonsense to win.
Media pool photograph by The Orange County Register After the savage, fatal battering of Kelly Thomas, Fullerton cop and accused murderer Manny Ramos shows off his little boo-boo
I reported after the Dec. 2 opening statements that John Barnett and Michael Schwartz, lawyers for Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, declared that a severe, seven-minute attack by a group of cops was not even a minor factor in the death of the unarmed, comparatively small, homeless man.
As if somehow exculpatory for their clients, Barnett and Schwartz proclaim that Thomas (blood-covered, unconscious and horrifically mauled) still had a pulse at the immediate conclusion of the beating.
Though the defense claims Thomas killed himself during the attack by overexerting an enlarged heart and suffering a heart attack, the coroner who performed the autopsy ruled that out as a possibility during today's testimony.
"He died with an enlarged heart," said Dr. Aruna Singhania. "But he didn't die because of an enlarged heart."
Singhania directly attributed the cause of death to what everyone but apologists for police brutality knows: The length and severity of the unnecessary physical attack--including numerous crushing blows to his face--restricted Thomas' oxygen supply.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas quickly followed up, asking that at the very time Thomas needed more oxygen during the incident, was his supply "getting less and depleted"?
"That's correct," the veteran coroner replied.
Digital audio records made by police at the scene document the 37-year-old Thomas repeatedly and with ever-increasing exasperation telling the much-heavier officers pummeling him with punches, kicks, baton slams, stomps and Taser gun blasts, "I can't breathe."
The defense team has tried to use the declarations to, at best, underscore their laughable assertion that Thomas' complaints of pain at the scene had no merit, and, at worse, to mock the dead man's statement as a lie.
They've even secured testimony that if a person can say he can't breathe, then he's breathing.
But to view Thomas' statement without context is as absurd as holding someone accountable for the literal meaning of the following type of utterances: "I lost my head," "You crack me up," "I have a chip on my shoulder" and "Lend me your ear."
Under an attack that would kill him, Thomas voiced an urgent expression that was ignored by the cops. He wasn't uttering a lie. He was communicating that he felt the horrific sensation of losing critical oxygen.
Guess what, folks?