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Grandfather Testifies Kelly Thomas Attacked Him With A Fireplace Poker

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Defense attorneys brought witnesses to the stand today in the high-profile trial involving two Fullerton police officers charged with the brutal beating of a mentally-ill and homeless man to death.

Former officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, are charged for Kelly Thomas' 2011 death that spurred a media firestorm after a 33-minute of the beating surfaced. The victim was hurt so badly that he was in a coma for five days before he died.

The defense attorneys hoped to bring to light that Thomas was not void of violent actions. Thomas' mother and grandfather gave their testimonies today and reluctantly recalled how they had been attacked by him the past.

His 91-year-old grandfather, Walter Dieball, said that Thomas had hit him in the back of his head more than once with a fireplace poker in his Placentia home back in 1995, according to KPCC. He believed Thomas got upset after they were talking about getting a job; however, Thomas apologized to Dieball two weeks later. Dieball, who donned a yellow ribbon in support of Thomas, added that he didn't fear his grandson.

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"He's my grandson," Dieball said, reported City News Service. "He certainly didn't have any hatred for me."

Cathy Thomas, the victim's mother who was also wearing a yellow ribbon, spoke about how her son had grabbed her throat back in Dec. 2010 and she ordered a restraining order against him. She mentioned she found it difficult to talk about this situation.

"I wish I was more educated on schizophrenia and got him help," she said, according to City News Service. "If I knew more I would have taken him under my wing and helped more."

Dale Roberts, another witness, claimed Thomas punched him in the jaw when he asked him to leave a Christmas party, reported O.C. Register. Samantha Pepin recalled Thomas harassing her at a fruit stand she worked at and threw rocks at her.

The trial will resume on Monday.

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