A Texas judge ruled Monday that Charter Spectrum must pay about $1.1 billion in damages to the estate and family members of 83-year-old Betty Thomas, who was murdered by a cable repairman inside her home in 2019.
A jury initially awarded more than $7 billion in damages in July, but the judge lowered that number to roughly $1.1 billion on Monday.
Roy Holden, the former employee who murdered Thomas, performed a service call at her home in December 2019. The next day, while off-duty, he went back to her house and stole her credit cards as he was fixing her fax machine, then stabbed her to death before going on a spending spree with the stolen cards.
Attorneys for Thomas' family argued that after filing a lawsuit, Charter "used a forged document to try to force the lawsuit into a closed-door arbitration where the results would have been secret."
The attorneys also argued that Charter Spectrum hired Holden without reviewing his work history and ignored red flags during his employment.
"This was a shocking breach of faith by a company that sends workers inside millions of homes every year," attorney Chris Hamilton said in a statement in July.
A spokesperson for Charter Spectrum said after the initial verdict that they would appeal, arguing there was nothing in Holden's work performance that would "suggest he was capable of the crime he committed."
"The responsibility for this horrible act rests solely with Mr. Holden, who was not on duty, and we are grateful he is in prison for life," the spokesperson said.
"The law in Texas and the facts presented at trial clearly show this crime was not foreseeable — and the plaintiffs’ claims of wrongdoing by Charter are categorically false."