Judge awards more than $32 million to estate of woman killed in Monongalia County

Crime
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Last week in Monongalia County Circuit Court, more than $32 million was awarded to the estate of Shannon Stafford, who was murdered on April 21, 2012 in the parking lot of the Walmart located along Hornbeck Road in Monongalia County.

Stafford’s foster brother, Barry Adkins, filed a civil suit in 2012.  The lawsuit names Larry Mitchell, Stafford’s father-in-law who shot and killed her, Sandra Mitchell, Stafford’s mother-in-law, and Nathan Mitchell, Stafford’s estranged husband, as defendants.

Stafford, 29, was shot and killed by Larry Mitchell while she was waiting in the parking lot for Nathan Mitchell to drop off their daughter for an overnight visit, according to the final judgment order.

According to the order, the civil suit Adkins filed alleged that Sandra Mitchell and Nathan Mitchell “encouraged, assisted, aided, abetted, provoked and incited” Larry Mitchell in the shooting and killing of Stafford by “providing him with information which they knew or reasonably should have known would incite him to take action to seriously injure or kill” her.

Adkins was seeking damages for Stafford’s “wrongful death as a result of the defendants’ negligence, gross negligence and/or recklessness for any and all economic losses and expenses incurred on account of Shannon Stafford’s death, general damages for physical pain, mental suffering and emotional distress suffered by Shannon Stafford prior to her death, all damages permitted to be recovered by the West Virginia Wrongful Death Act, punitive damages, interest, costs and attorney fees,” according to the order.

Monongalia County Circuit Judge Susan Tucker signed the final judgment order on May 15 and awarded $32,614,860 to Adkins, who represented Stafford’s estate.  More than $16 million of the total amount is for compensatory damages and more than $16 million is for punitive damages.

Larry Mitchell is currently serving a life sentence for Stafford’s death at Mount Olive Correctional Complex.

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