Manslaughter Trial Set to Start on October 3 for Police Officer
The trial for Paradise police officer, Patrick Feaster, is set to start on October 3, 2016 in the Butte County Superior Court. Mr. Feaster has been charged with involuntary manslaughter [Penal Code Section 192(b)] related to the accidental discharge shooting death of Andrew Thomas. This case started on November 25, 2015 when Mr. Feaster was working patrol in the city of Paradise. He saw the suspect, Mr. Thomas, leave a local bar at a high rate of speed, with no lights on and driving erratically. Officer Feaster began to pursue the suspect, but the suspect continued to accelerate away, running a stop light. The suspect hit the center median and his car flipped, ejecting a female passenger. The suspect’s vehicle came to rest on its side. Officer Feaster stopped his vehicle and as he was exiting his vehicle the suspect began to quickly climb out of an open window. Officer Feaster drew his weapon and accidentally discharged it, striking the suspect. The suspect was taken to a local hospital where he died approximately 4 weeks later.
The Butte County District Attorney has alleged that Mr. Feaster’s accidental discharge was an act of criminal negligence and was so reckless that he had disregard for the life of Andrew Thomas. On the other hand, we believe the evidence shows that this was purely an accident and was not a crime. Mr. Feaster witnessed a highly unusual, extremely violent, and very stressful event in the crash of the suspect’s vehicle, and particularly in the female passenger being ejected. Also, when Mr. Feaster exited his patrol vehicle the female passenger lay on the pavement between Mr. Feaster’s patrol unit and the suspect’s vehicle. The female passenger was very badly injured. Mr. Feaster appropriately drew his weapon based on the nature and the circumstances of the traffic stop.