Families of Ohio school shooting victims sue United Way

May 22, 2013 at 4:57 PM
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CHARDON, Ohio, May 22 (UPI) -- The families of three students killed in an Ohio school shooting have sued United Way over its distribution of the Chardon Healing Fund.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Geauga County Probate Court names the United Way of Greater Cleveland and its Geauga County chapter as defendants, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.

The plaintiffs are the families of Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr. and Daniel Parmertor.

The three were killed and Nick Walczak, Nate Mueller and Joy Rickers were injured in February 2012 when Thomas "T.J." Lane opened fire in the Chardon High School cafeteria. Lane, 17 at the time, was a former Chardon High student who had been transferred to an alternative school program.

In the lawsuit, the families said they received less than $150,000 of the $952,000 available in the Chardon Healing Fund.

"The families want the judge to examine under Ohio law if this is a fair distribution of the trust," said Todd McKenney, the lawyer administering Hewlin's estate and representing the families in the suit. "This is not easy for them because they have been so grateful for the support that they have received from the community."

In a statement late Tuesday, United Way said more than $400,000 has gone to the families of the six students killed and injured. Much of the rest has gone to help the entire community of Chardon, including $120,000 for a school resource officer, and about $120,000 remains without allocation.

Lane is now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

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