Spectrum owes $7 billion in damages for the murder of a Texas customer

Earlier in June, the jury also said the cable company had to pay 90% of the $375 million in damages to Thomas and her family.

DALLAS – A Dallas County jury has found that Charter Communications, also operating as Spectrum, acted negligently in hiring a field technician who killed one of its clients. The company now owes billions of dollars in damages.

The jury awarded punitive damages of $7 billion against Charter for “systemic safety failures” in connection with the 2019 murder of 83-year-old Betty Thomas by a technician. Earlier in June, a jury also said Charter had to pay 90% of the $375 million in damages to the Thomas family.

During this June ruling, the jury found Charter is responsible for the theft and stabbing of Thomas’ death by an employee of the company. in In December 2019, officers arrested 43-year-old Roy Holden Jr., who later pleaded guilty to premeditated murder and was sentenced to life in prison in April 2021.

based in Dallas Hamilton and survive The family is represented in this case.

“This was a shocking breach of faith by a company that sends workers into millions of homes every year,” said Chris Hamilton, Hamilton Wingo’s attorney. “The jury in this case has been thoughtful and attentive to the evidence. This ruling fairly reflects the broad evidence regarding the nature of harm caused by Charter Spectrum’s gross negligence and reckless misconduct. For the safety of the American public, we can only hope that Spectrum Charter and its shareholders will listen.” .

The complaint against Charter from the victim’s family said the cable company had eliminated the employee screening program Time Warner Cable had put in place when Charter bought the multi-system operator in 2016. Spectrum allegedly hired Holden without checking his employment history, which would have Show that he lied about his work history.

A review of Holden’s previous employers could have revealed dismissals for forgery, document falsification and harassment of fellow employees, according to trial testimony.

Holden was the field technician at Spectrum who visited Thomas’ house in December 2019 to help with her phone line. He came home the next day with a Spectrum truck and stabbed her with a utility knife supplied by the cable company.

Authorities discovered Thomas’ body after answering an unconscious person’s call. According to investigators, Thomas had multiple stab wounds and was dead when officers arrived.

Lawyers said in June that Holden took her credit cards and went on a “spending spree.” They also said that Thomas’ death could have been prevented and that Spectrum had “systematic failures” in its hiring practices.

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In the days before Thomas was murdered, it was allegedly committed by Holden Multiple shouts to supervisors about important personal and financial issues related to the divorce left him no money or a place to stay, according to trial testimony. as alleged He collapsed in tears at a meeting telling his supervisor he was not well.

The testimony revealed, right after the cash was rejected, that he began defrauding Spectrum’s elderly female customers by stealing their credit cards and checks.

Holden allegedly had full, unauthorized access to his Spectrum, and in the weeks leading up to the murder, he was likely asleep in the truck.

According to the certificate: Spectrum ignored requests from police and prosecutors to preserve evidence. One Spectrum security official testified that the company “is not necessarily” obligated to tell the truth or cooperate with the police.

After Thomas’ family filed the lawsuit, Hamilton Wingo said Spectrum’s attorneys used a forged document to try to force the lawsuit to be arbitrated in a closed door, as the results were confidential and damages for the murder would have been limited to the amount of Thomas’ final bill.

The jury found that Spectrum committed fraud beyond reasonable doubt, conduct that constitutes a first-degree felony under Texas law, according to Hamilton Wingo.

Lawyers said that Thomas’ family later received a bill from Spectrum that included a $58 fee for the killer’s service call and continued to receive service bills weeks after Thomas’ death.

During the trial, it was also revealed There have been more than 2,500 thefts by Spectrum employees against customers in the past several yearsWhich the company refused to investigate or report to the police.

“The Spectrum Charter had plenty of opportunities to prevent this tragedy, and the company demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of its customers. Worse still, Hamilton Wingo’s attorney, Ray Khairallah, said the trial exposes how vulnerable Charter Spectrum customers are today in the hands of a company that appears to be indifferent. Public Safety “This ruling fairly reflects the extent of the evidence against the Spectrum Charter and the serious nature of the Company’s gross misconduct and violations of the law.”

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