Man Taken Into Custody for Involuntary Homicide in the Death of an Older Transient Man Last Fall


Emergency personnel attempting to get the victim to the hospital on time. [Photo by Bobby Kroeker]

Nathan Johnson age 24 of Eureka was taken into custody yesterday and charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 63-year-old Terry Lee Thomas, well-known transient.

Johnson, Nathan (1)

Nathan Johnson

On the night of September 8, 2015 at 8:08 p.m., Eureka Police officers found Thomas bleeding and unconscious near the Humboldt County Courthouse. Reports from the scene indicated that he had been involved in an altercation. Although Thomas was rushed to the hospital, he later succumbed to his injuries, says a Eureka Police Department press release. (See below.)


A member of the Eureka Police Department reviews security tape from the Courthouse Market. [Photo by Bobby Kroeker]

Officers reviewed security tape from the nearby Courthouse Market and conducted an investigation. Yesterday Johnson was arrested. He is also charged with other unrelated crimes.

This is a press release from the Eureka Police Department. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

On 09/08/15 at about 8:08 p.m., officers with the Eureka Police Department responded to a parking lot on the 900 block of 4th St. for the report of a physical altercation. The caller reported that he was involved and that the victim, Terry Lee Thomas, was lying on the ground unresponsive.

Officers found Thomas lying on the ground, unconscious and bleeding from the head and face. Thomas was transported by ambulance to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

On 03/24/16, after a thorough investigation into the incident, Nathan Layton Johnson, 24 of Eureka, was taken into custody and charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was also charged with unrelated charges of domestic battery and vandalism. Johnson is currently in custody at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility awaiting trial.

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  • I guess I am confused that it took 6 months to “investigate” this incident? When they immediately had a guy call in, admit to the altercation and they had everything on video…umm, now it’s 6 months later?

  • It took them a year to call Gabe Jackson’s murder a “hit and run.”

    • Justice moves slow, just wondering why he got involuntary man slaughter for beating someone to death, especially given the other non related charges. So I guess if I shoot someone in the head I can just say I didn’t mean to kill them and then receive a reduced sentence?

      • I’m wondering the same thing. Beating someone to death sure sounds voluntary to me.

      • He did not beat him to death. It says one punch. How many of you out there have been in a fight and hit someone??? This could be you facing manslaughter charges.

  • “Wheels of justice grind slow, but grind fine”
    ― Sun Tzu

    Old Chinese Proverb

  • come on eureka your turning it in to a catch and release case, look at what is happening to your area. wake up asnd start protectng yor oeople

  • Was the victim negros ?

  • taweeeeekiville

    We need a sheriff like Joe arpaio, not this softy whose name I will not speak!

  • He did not beat him to death. It says one punch. How many of you out there have been in a fight and hit someone??? This could be you facing manslaughter charges.

  • This could have happened to anyone. It was involuntary. Who would of thought the poor man was going to die after one punch. It was an accident. This is a lesson why people should not fight with each other. It only takes one punch. 🙁 we need more rehabs and drug and alcohol prevention/intervention in our town!

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