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But each time he began to improve, he stopped his medications and wound up back on the streets,
moving between Yorba Linda, Placentia, Fullerton and Cypress — all places where he had once lived or
had family and friends. One of the hardest parts of his death has been hearing their son described as
homeless, the father said.
"That's the heartbreaking part for all of us. We all have ideas of what we'd like our kids to be like and to
do in life. With Kelly, we didn't get to realize that and it constantly broke our heart," his father said.
"Kelly wasn't homeless at all, he had so many homes, but he wanted to be a drifter and he did."
Life on the streets led to criminal charges.
He pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm in 1995 and since 2004 has had
a string of arrests for a host of lesser crimes including public urination, trespassing, battery, unlawful
camping, petty theft and vandalism. He racked up traffic violations for jaywalking and failing to obey
traffic signals.
His mother sought a restraining order against him in December 2010 after he refused to leave her front
porch, took off his clothes and urinated by the front door, according to court papers. In the same court
papers, his mother alleged that Thomas grabbed her by the throat when they shared an apartment,
although it was unclear when the incident occurred.
The family said they sought the order to try to get him into treatment as his behavior spiraled out of
On the day of the beating, bystanders said Thomas was approached by two officers and ran from them.
Bus surveillance video showed witnesses talking about the confrontation to the driver of a bus that
pulled up minutes later.
In the grainy, black-and-white video, a woman who appears upset says: "The cops are kicking this poor
guy over there. ... He's almost halfway dead."
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