Paradise, CA — In a rare semblance of justice, a cop who shot and killed an unarmed man for no reason as he climbed from a wrecked car, was found guilty in October. However, shooting and killing 26-year-old Andrew Thomas, officer Patrick Feaster was not sentenced until this month. For ending another man’s life for no reason, Feaster will only spend 6 months behind bars — if that.
Butte County Superior Court Judge James Reilley handed down the sentence last week of 180 days in jail and three years of probation. Feaster originally faced five years, but the judge chose to hand out 180 days instead.
According to ChicoER, in granting Feaster’s application for probation, the judge said Feaster had no prior criminal record, his crime was committed in unusual and “bizarre” circumstances that are unlikely to occur again, and he appears willing to abide by the terms of probation.
Last Thanksgiving, Thomas made a deadly decision to get behind the wheel after he’d been drinking. With his 23-year-old wife, Darien Ehorn in the passenger’s seat, Thomas left the Canteena Bar and was immediately pursued by Feaster.
In a pursuit that barely lasted a minute, Thomas lost control of his Toyota Four-Runner, hit the median and flipped over. Tragically, Ehorn was ejected from the vehicle and died on the scene.
Officer Feaster then gets out of his vehicle, gun drawn, and as Thomas attempts to get out of the vehicle, in a likely attempt to check on his wife, the cop shoots him in the neck. Weeks later, Thomas would die from the gunshot wounds.
Thomas posed absolutely no threat to the officer who was 10-20 feet away from Thomas when he fired. There was no possible way the department could spin the shooting into Feaster somehow fearing for his life. So, they did something entirely different.
They claimed it was an accident.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey announced last December that Feaster would not face any charges, claiming that Feaster’s gun merely “went off” when it struck Thomas in the neck.
If this truly were an accidental shooting, Feaster would have probably reported firing his gun. But that didn’t happen.
When backup arrived on the scene, Feaster said nothing of discharging his firearm. For 11 minutes, Thomas lay bleeding out in the vehicle before anyone even found the shot.
Only when the commanding officer on the scene suggested an investigator return to the Canteena to find out if Thomas had been shot at the bar did Feaster reveal he’d pulled the trigger.
In spite of the initial attempts by the DA to let Feaster off scot free, he had a change of heart when met with serious backlash from protesters and Feaster was finally charged and tried.
The jury of seven men and five women returned the verdict after one day of deliberations in October.
“My life is forever changed,” Thomas’s mother, Victoria Rose Woodward, said last week after Feaster was sentenced. “The grieving will continue. That doesn’t stop. That empty spot will always be there.”
In October, Ramsey said he was pleased with the guilty verdict. “We’re grateful that the jury, in this case, found the just verdict and the just verdict was of course, finding him guilty of the involuntary manslaughter,” he said. “It’s also validation of the standard that we should have in our county, as well as the nation that such shooting is… someone will be held accountable for and Mr. Feaster was held accountable.”
However, that sentiment changed after the sentencing last week when Ramsey voiced his disappointment with such a lax sentence.
According to ChicoER, Ramsey argued for Feaster to be sentenced to four years in jail, saying the shooting was not an accidental tragedy but an incident where a trained police officer shot and killed an unarmed man who posed no threat.
According to Feaster’s attorney, the cop should have been able to kill Thomas and not face any consequences. Even if it was truly an accident, that defense is worthless as this cop’s negligence still led to the needless loss of life.
The good news is that this negligently deadly officer will never be allowed back on a police department again, nor will he be able to own a firearm.