Chronological Summary of the May 4 Court Cases


July, 1970

FBI concludes investigation. Chief investigator from Justice Dept. recommends on basis of report that at least six guardsmen be prosecuted.
September, 1970 Scranton Commission issues report, concluding the deaths of students at Kent State were 'unnecessary, unwarranted and inexcusable.'


September, 1970 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.
January, 1971 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 indictments stand.
December, 1971 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.


August, 1971 U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell says Justice Dept. will not call a grand jury.
August, 1973 New Attorney General Elliot Richardson announces Justice Dept. will reopen the Kent State case.
December, 1973 Justice Dept. announces a Federal Grand Jury will be convened to investigate the May 4 shootings.
March, 1974 Eight guardsmen are indicted by the Federal Grand Jury on charges of willfully violating the rights of the dead and wounded students.
November, 1974 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 this action.
April, 1974 U.S. Supreme Court rules 8-0 that sovereign immunity is not absolute, but qualified,' allowing the parents and students to bring the suit.
August, 1975 U.S. federal court jury decides 9-3 against the parents and students on all
May, 1976 Appeal of civil suit filed in U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
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.