FULLERTON (CBSLA.com) — A jury was shown gruesome photos Thursday at the trial of two former Fullerton police officers, who have been accused of beating a mentally ill homeless man to death.
The image of Kelly Thomas’ bruised and bloody face, deemed too shocking to show on TV after his death in July 2011, was shown in court at the trial of Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli.
Images of a hospitalized Thomas, who lingered in a coma for five days before he died, showed him with black eyes, tubes protruding from his nostrils and mouth, and dry blood matting his beard and the bandages on his forehead and nose. Thomas’ neck was also secured with a brace.
Kelly Thomas’ father, Ron, posted the photos online after his son’s death and they went viral, attracting media attention.
“I remember the first time I showed them to the media, that it was shocking, and I believe the comment was, ‘this is so bad, we can’t show these on the air,’” Ron Thomas said.
He says he felt compelled to stay in the courtroom as the pictures were being shown, despite their gruesome nature.
“I have to really understand what my son went through. It’s important to me,” Ron Thomas said. “This has been such a fight for justice – its kind of like letting Kelly know that, even now, he’s not alone.”
The coroner who performed the autopsy testified that Kelly Thomas died of lack of oxygen to the brain.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Kelly Thomas Wrongful Death Trial