Jamon R. Hicks, the attorney representing the family of Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old Black man who was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, held a press conference in Los Angeles. There has been a lot of speculation about the death of Fuller, and his character being assassinated while he is not here to defend himself.
In response to the rumors circulating on social media, Hicks said, “I can confirm that those rumors are false. There is no link or any connection. I can confirm that through our independent investigation and our conversations with the sheriff’s department.” Hicks mentioned the family was also not aware of any significant issues of mental health illness that they thought would ever lead him to harm himself.
According to Hicks, there is no evidence of Fuller’s death being a hate crime, only time will tell the truth behind this tragic death. “I don’t have any evidence that this was a hate crime. There is nothing to indicate any threats, nothing to indicate any foul play. There were no racists sentiments, no symbols, or anything in the area. So we don’t have information that suggests it was a hate crime.”
The family and Hicks would like to know what was on Fuller’s phone the day of his death, but they are not able to get access because there is a password on it. Therefore the results will be delayed. “I have always promised that I will give the family all the information, good or bad. To satisfy the family, my goal is to hopefully get access to the content, so that I can give them as much information as possible,” Hicks says.
During the investigation, there were leaks that attempted to tarnish the name of Fuller. It raised eyebrows for Hicks and the family because of the language used in the leak. Hicks says, “I do have a concern on how the leak came out, trying to make this connection. And the reason I have this concern, is one of the leaks specifically stated that they had information from the sheriff’s department about Penal Code, PC 288, which is child molestation,” Hicks states.
He also says, “That concerns me, that language was used. That someone would say PC 288. Because that is something lawyers would typically reference or law enforcement. It gives me concerns that there may have been an internal leak.”
Hicks mentioned the community put pressure on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. They already had raised concerns of the racial conflict in that area. Given the political climate that existed at the time, it was best to get answers sooner than later. “The community was visibly upset by the hanging. They felt dismissed by the press conference, and the quick judgement by lawmakers,” says Hicks.
“I’ve always maintained that there needs to be a thorough investigation. I’m thankful for the community for providing the support and passion necessary to get the investigation done.” When Hicks was asked by reporters if he is satisfied by the current investigation he said, “I’ll leave it there.”
The family and Hicks met with investigators for about two hours, and the most critical questions were asked about the rumors circulating. “We spent time in the meeting to confirm it was no suicide note found. There was no stool or chair. After his body was found, we wanted to make a statement to put to rest all the rumors.”
In the press conference, Hicks discussed that he spoke to the attorney general’s office prior to the meeting with the sheriff’s department, and they reassured they would oversee the investigation. He states, “The sheriffs gave our officers excitement and pleasure that we know their eyes would be on this, and the FBI would simply oversee the investigation. So that does bring me relief.”
It was disturbing to the family that false rumors were circulating shortly after Fuller was found, and to this day, Hicks and the family are bothered by the blatant lies. Hicks said, “It does concern me, and bother me, that Robert Fuller wasn’t buried and there were all these rumors circulating about him. It has always been extremely frustrating that someone would start a rumor so vile.” He continued, “That was extremely frustrating for me and still remains an issue for the family. This is a wonderful family and I think it’s ridiculous that we continue to have these rumors come out knowing they still have to bury their brother.”
The family hired their own private investigator, and at this moment the family does not have access to the witness’s name, specifically the person who found the body. When asked by reporters about getting that information, Hicks said, “If the sheriff would share that information, we would appreciate it. We would love to share that with our investigator.”