Va. court overturns verdict against state in massacre on Virginia Tech campus
By The Washington Post
Published: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 7:15 p.m.
The Virginia Supreme Court has overturned a jury verdict in the wrongful-death suit filed against the state by the families of two students who were killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
In a decision released on Thursday, the justices wrote that “there was no duty for the Commonwealth to warn students about the potential for criminal acts” by student-gunman Seung-Hui Cho.
Jurors in Montgomery County Circuit Court ruled last year that the state was negligent in the deaths of Julia Pryde and Erin Peterson, two of the 32 people killed by Cho on the Blacksburg campus. The jury panel awarded the parents of Pryde and Peterson $4 million each, although the amount later was reduced to $100,000 per family.
Harry Pryde, whose daughter Julia was killed in her advanced-hydrology class on the second floor of Norris Hall on April 16, 2007, said Thursday that the families are “deeply saddened that the court was so dismissive of assigning responsibility and was so protective of the commonwealth.”
The lawsuit focused on accountability, not money, Pryde said in a telephone interview.
“We still take a good measure of satisfaction that the jury listened to all of the evidence and decided as it did,” he said. “We don't feel at all that the Supreme Court can take that away from us.”
Brian Gottstein, director of communications for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, said the court's ruling affirmed the state's position.
“While words cannot express the tremendous sympathy we have for the families who lost their loved ones in the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007 — including the Prydes and the Petersons — the Virginia Supreme Court has found what we have said all along to be true: The commonwealth and its officials at Virginia Tech were not negligent on April 16, 2007,” Gottstein said in a statement. “Cho was the lone person responsible for this tragedy.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- World War II veteran receives once-declined Purple Heart
- Flubbed ‘stifling’ finally ends 29-round spelling bee
- Obama gets in some golf on family trip to Key Largo
- El Nino could bring relief to U.S.
- Obama losing close adviser to end 9 years of service
- Immigrant detainees on hunger strike
- Oklahoma governor’s daughter regrets wearing Native American headdress
- Former National Security Agency contractor Snowden’s leaks to cost billions, take years to fix
- Expats renounce citizenship over U.S. tax hassles
- California man named as bitcoin creator denies involvement
- John Denver tune finally an ‘official’ W.Va. state song