TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Va. court overturns verdict against state in massacre on Virginia Tech campus

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Washington Post
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.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Construction of giant bridges sparks curiosity, high demand for public tours
  2. ‘Fast, Furious’ pistol was sold to gunman in foiled Texas terrorist attack
  3. Clintons hauled in $139M in past 8 years
  4. Minn. dentist laying low in slaying of lion
  5. Highway bill on Obama’s desk extends funding 3 months
  6. Fires’ fury unabated in California
  7. San Francisco’s Chinatown clings to roots amid tech boom
  8. Blankenship defense wants Upper Big Branch explosion evidence kept away from jury
  9. Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
  10. VA whistle-blowers aghast
  11. Defense chief approves arming more troops at soft sites