A jury of seven men and five women have found former Paradise Police Officer Patrick Feaster guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Feaster shot and killed 26-year-old Andrew Thomas last November.
“We were relieved when the jury decided that he was guilty,” Elisabeth Woodward, the sister of the victim, said. “We were so happy it brought tears to our eyes because it means that we got justice for my brother.”
The accident occurred on at midnight on Nov. 26, 2015, when Feaster engaged in a high-speed pursuit with Thomas which resulted in Thomas’ car flipping on a median. Thomas’ wife, Darien Ehorn, was ejected from the car and killed on impact.
Feaster was the first cop to arrive on the scene and shot Thomas as he emerged from the flipped vehicle. Dash cam video shows Feaster looking for the bullet casing and later cooperating with responding officers.
Although Thomas did not die on the scene, he was pronounced dead three weeks later.
The Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey did not initially press charges, but eventually charged Feaster due to public protests and community outreach. Feaster was not fired from the department until February of 2016.
The verdict has given the family hope as they plan for rehabilitation. When Thomas died the family was not only upset by the incident but also the inconclusive medical condition of Thomas.
“There is still rage, pain, tears and ‘what if’s’ because the end result of it all is being left without a brother, son and grandson,” Woodward said.
The community has supported the family through the case. Since the day of the shooting, there have been many protests and an outpouring of community support.
“Without the community support, [District Attorney] Mike Ramsey wouldn’t have pressed charges and we would have been left without a voice,” Woodward said.
The case in now going to the probation department, where they will look at Feaster’s background history and past arrests. The prohibition department will decide on how much time Feaster should serve.
Feaster’s sentencing date is set for Dec. 16.
Amber Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @ambermartin_22 on Twitter.