Former Suspect's Family Speaks about Lawsuit

The city of Meridian and its police department leadership are being sued by two men who say they were falsely accused of murder.

Ricky Thomas and Frederick Moore were arrested after the 2009 shooting death of Jerome Hearn. The charges were eventually dropped against the two, but not until they had spent a year behind bars.

Thomas' family spoke out about what it says led to the lawsuit being filed.

"They wouldn't listen! They wouldn't listen!" said Mary Cobb, Thomas' mother. "What we were saying didn't mean anything."

Cobb says her efforts to tell police where her son was when Hearn was killed fell on deaf ears.

"They just wanted to find someone to say, 'They murdered this child," said Cobb.

Thomas' parents said their son's life hasn't been the same since his arrest, two days after Hearn was discovered shot to death in a car on 23rd Street.

Thomas' family says it took two grand juries to determine that there wasn't enough evidence to indict Ricky or Moore. They say the delay in the release of the two men was unjust.

"They didn't have no kind of evidence from day one, no kind of evidence," said Ricky Cobb, Thomas' father. "They just picked him up. My son stayed down there a whole year in prison (jail) for something that he didn't do."

"For them to charge him on the evidence, which was not substantial, it was just heartbreaking to us," said Thomas' sister, Rekita Thomas.

For the last two years Ricky Thomas, now 28-years-old, has been out of jail and out of work. His family says the controversy surrounding the case has hindered him from securing a job.

"It never had to go this far and it shouldn't have had to go this far," said Rekita Thomas.

"We want justice," said Mary Cobb.

"A whole year. You can't get that back," said Ricky Cobb. "You can't never get that back."

The lawsuit filed by Thomas, Moore, and their families asks for unspecified damages for losses and injuries and for reimbursement of attorneys' fees.

Newscenter 11 attempted to contact the city's attorney for a response to the claims made in the lawsuit. We understand that he is out of town and we have not yet received a response.

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