DALLAS COUNTY, Texas - A Dallas judge has ordered cable company Charter Spectrum to pay $1.147 billion to the family of an 83-year-old grandmother robbed and stabbed to death in her home by one of the company's cable technicians.
Cable field technician Roy Holden killed Betty Thomas at her home in Irving with his Charter Spectrum knife in 2019.
The judgment signed Monday by Dallas County Judge Juan Renteria found the Charter "knowingly and intentionally committed forgery with the intent to defraud or harm Plaintiffs."
Testimony in the trial found that Charter Spectrum ignored countless red flags about Holden from the date of his hire to the day of the murder. The company removed an employee screening program in 2016 and allegedly hired Holden without verifying his employment history, which he lied about on his application.
A jury found Charter Spectrum forged a service agreed, claiming Thomas agreed to it, after her death in an attempt to force the lawsuit into arbitration, where results can be kept from the public and damages could have been limited to less than $200.
The judgment awards the full $1.147 billion sought by the family's legal team.
A jury previously reached a verdict in July calling for Charter Spectrum to pay $7 billion for gross negligence. The family's legal team says the new lower amount makes it less likely to be reduced on appeal.
"The victim’s family voluntarily ‘remitted’ the initial $7 billion punitive damages award to an amount equal to two times the compensatory damages in requesting entry of judgment. This conservative damages multiplier will make the judgment exceedingly unlikely to be overturned on appeal given the criminal forgery findings against Charter and established Supreme Court precedent," said the family's lead lawyer Chris Hamilton.
In December 2019, Roy Holden Jr. was working for the cable company as an installer. He did some work at Thomas’ home in Irving and then returned the next day to kill her while off duty.
Holden stole the elderly woman’s credit card and went on a spending spree.
He is in prison for life after pleading guilty to the murder.