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Kelly Thomas death: Officer pleads not guilty, on suicide watch

September 26, 2011 |  9:41 am

A Fullerton police officer charged with second-degree murder in the death of homeless man Kelly Thomas will remain in jail on $1-million bail, an Orange County judge ruled Monday.

Office Manuel Ramos through his attorney entered a not guilty plea to a murder charge and a charge of involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, Ramos faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Ramos' attorney, John Barnett, told the judge that the Thomas case was not a "typical murder" and that typical bail should not apply.

"This was a violent felon who confronted my client that evening," Barnett said. He said that his client was targeted by the district attorney because he was the first to arrive on the scene. Six officers were involved in the incident that led to Thomas' death, but only two, Ramos and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, were charged. Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force.

Judge Erick Larsh found no unusual circumstances in the case and left the bail at $1 million. 

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said Ramos has been on suicide watch.


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Photo: Fullerton Police Officer Manuel Ramos looks out of a holding cage during his arraignment in Santa Ana. Credit: Pool photo