In December 2019, Betty Jo McClain Thomas, 83, thought her Spectrum cable guy was there to make repairs at her Las Colinas home. Sadly, Betty was stabbed to death by cable technician Roy James Holden, Jr., 45. The motive was robbery. He took off with her credit cards and identification.
Betty Thomas' family sued Holden and Charter Communications, which owns Spectrum cable. During the trial, the family claimed that the company’s employment practices led to Thomas’ death.
The day before the murder, Holden was at Thomas’ house fulfilling a service request. Thomas originally called Spectrum because she was having trouble with her fax machine.
The family found Thomas deceased later that night.
In a written statement to the media at the time, Spectrum said: "This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the victim and her family and friends. We are actively working with Irving police as they conduct their investigation."
Holden was later arrested and charged with capital murder. He eventually confessed to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison.
The family found Holden was under a six-month written disciplinary action with Spectrum at the time of the murder. The suit claimed that the company concealed this detail from police when they were investigating the murder.
According to the suit, “It is apparent that the company had prior complaints on Mr. Holden that led to the disciplinary action, and that Defendant Holden had exhibited a prolonged pattern of concerning behavior beginning before the time he was hired in 2018 and continuing throughout the entire period of his employment.”
This week, a Dallas County jury found Charter Communications did act negligently when it hired a field technician who went on to fatally stab one of his customers, and the jury ordered the company to pay 90% of $375 million dollars in compensatory damage to the Thomas' family.
In a written statement, a Charter spokesman said “the facts presented at trial clearly show this crime was not foreseeable” and that Spectrum completed a “thorough” criminal background check before hiring Holden.
According to the plaintiff's attorney, about a week before Thomas’ death, Holden had told his supervisors that he was "not okay" and asked about borrowing money.
To add insult to injury, the family's attorneys said the Thomas' family continued to receive bills for service from Spectrum in the weeks after her death.