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Kelly Thomas case: Fullerton's Cicinelli, Ramos plead not guilty

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After several delays, two men who were both Fullerton police officers a year ago were arraigned on charges Friday in connection with the death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill, homeless man who died last year five days after a violent encounter with police. 

Defense attorneys entered not guilty pleas for Manuel Ramos and Corporal Jay Cicinelli, who remain free on bail. Ramos faces charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter; Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. Ramos was recently fired by the Fullerton Police Department, and Cicinelli has received notice of the city's intent to fire him. 

During a preliminary hearing in May, attorneys repeatedly played video and audio footage of the struggle between Ramos, Cicinelli, other officers and Thomas. Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas, who personally argued for the county during the hearing, says an investigation of other Fullerton officers involved in the incident continues. Kelly Thomas' father, Ron Thomas, said Friday he expected Officer Joe Wolfe to face charges in connection with his son's death.

"I would like to see charges filed against Joe Wolfe, and I talked about that today (Friday) with Tony Rackauckas," said Ron Thomas. "But, at the request of Mr. Rackauckas, I am not at liberty to say more."

Judge Craig Robison assigned the case to Judge William Froeberg to set a trial date. That court date is set for for July 27.

Attorney Case Barnett, standing in for his father John Barnett, who represents Ramos, said he expected a motion to dismiss charges on behalf of both defendants to be filed by the next court date.

Cicinelli Attorney Michael Schwartz said he expected the dismiss motion to be filed in about a month to 45 days.

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