Irving—Charter Communications was ordered on Tuesday, July 26, to pay $7 billion in punitive damages to the family of an Irving woman murdered by one of their technicians.
In December 2019, 45-year-old Roy James Holden was sent to the home of 83-year-old Betty Thomas to assist her with her Spectrum internet-TV bundle. Spectrum is the internet services brand for Charter Communications.
The day following the service call, Holden returned to Thomas’ home, driving a company vehicle and wearing his Spectrum uniform. He entered the home without Thomas’ knowledge.
Thomas saw Holden stealing her credit cards, according to attorneys for Thomas’ family. Holden then fatally stabbed Thomas with a company issued utility knife while wearing Spectrum issued gloves. Afterwards, he went on a “spending spree” with the stolen cards.
Family members found Thomas dead after she failed to meet them for a Christmas and birthday party.
Holden pled guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison in April of 2021.
A Dallas County jury ordered Charter Communications pay the family $7 billion for punitive damages. This jury’s decision is in addition to $375 million another jury ordered the company to pay in compensatory damages last month.
Charter Communications said in a statement they plan to appeal both verdicts, stating that Holden was solely responsible for the death. The company claims nothing in Holden’s background check suggested he would be capable of such a crime.
Charter Communications serves more than 32 million residential and business customers in 41 states.