Chronological Summary of the May 4 Court Cases
|FBI concludes investigation. Chief investigator from Justice Dept.
recommends on basis of report that at least six guardsmen be prosecuted.
||Scranton Commission issues report, concluding the deaths of students at
Kent State were 'unnecessary, unwarranted and inexcusable.'
STATE CRIMINAL TRIAL
||Special State Grand Jury issues indictments against the 'Kent 25"
comprised of 24 students and one faculty member and issues a report placing primary
responsibility for the May 4 tragedy on the KSU administration, faculty and students.
||U.S. District Judge William K. Thomas orders Special State Grand Jury
report 'expunged' because of irreparable damage to the rights of the accused. The
||Trial of the 'Kent 25' results in one defendant being found guilty on one
of four counts, two pleading guilty to lesser counts for their actions during events in
the weekend preceding May 4, one dismissal and one acquittal, leading the state prosecutor
to call for a dismissal of charges against the remaining 20 defendants.
FEDERAL CRIMINAL TRIAL
||U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell says Justice Dept. will
not call a grand jury.
||New Attorney General Elliot Richardson announces Justice
Dept. will reopen the Kent State case.
||Justice Dept. announces a Federal Grand Jury will be convened
to investigate the May 4 shootings.
|| Eight guardsmen are indicted by the Federal Grand Jury on
charges of willfully violating the rights of the dead and wounded students.
||U.S. District Judge Frank Battisti dismisses charges against
the guardsmen, ruling that the government had no proved beyond a reasonable doubt that
guardsmen had willfully intended to deprive students of their civil rights.
|May, 70-Mar., 74
||Lawyers for the parents and wounded students try to bring
civil suits against Governor James Rhodes, former KSU President Robert White the national
guard officers and enlisted men, but courts rule that "sovereign immunity' prevents
||U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-0 that sovereign immunity is not
absolute, but qualified,' allowing the parents and students to bring the suit.
|| U.S. federal court jury decides 9-3 against the parents and
students on all
||Appeal of civil suit filed in U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of
|January 4, 1979
||An out-of-court settlement is reached providing for the
payment of $675,000 in damages by the State of Ohio and for a signed statement of regret
and intention by Gov. Rhodes, the leaders, officers and men of the Ohio National Guard,
widi a substantial portion of the settlement to be given to Dean Kahler who was pwwyzed in
the May 4 shootings.