Wednesday, July 19, 2000

$610,000 settlement approved

Warren County will pay Suzie Thompson's family

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Eight months after Suzie Thompson was shot to death by a former boyfriend who was mistakenly released from jail, Warren County commissioners approved a $610,000 settlement with her family.

Suzie Thompson
Suzie Thompson
        The settlement also orders Sheriff Tom Ariss not to release inmates who are supposed to be held for other law enforcement agencies.

        And it guarantees meetings between Ms. Thompson's relatives and the sheriff to discuss jail procedures, and orders the county to spend $10,000 toward a memorial monument to domestic violence victims in Ms. Thompson's name.

        The county also agreed, for the first time, to give Ms. Thompson's family a detailed account of the series of foul- ups that led to the South Lebanon woman's death Dec. 1.

        County commissioners apologized to her relatives Tuesday after agreeing to the settlement, which later was affirmed by a Warren County judge.

        Jim Whitaker, an attorney for Ms. Thompson's family, called the agreement fair, saying the family decided to settle to avoid the risk and cost associated with a wrongful-death lawsuit.

        “I feel the county entered into this in good faith,” he said. “In a death case, there is no ideal proposal.”

        Minutes after the final papers were signed, Ms. Thompson's relatives said they had mixed feelings. Her parents, Colombe and Yvon Desfosses of Mason, said they cried on the way to the courthouse.

        “I think we feel we have some completion,” Mr. Desfosses said. “Right now something is done. But, it cannot be over. I'm still missing a daughter.”

        The 42-year-old single mother of three was gunned down in her South Lebanon bedroom Dec. 1 by ex-boyfriend William Chapman after County Judge Dallas Powers and jail staff released him from jail on a Thanksgiving furlough.


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