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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

[VA] $20M Lawsuit: Sheriff Hunt knew his deputy was in transit to kill Jennifer Louise Carter Agee - and did nothing


The Franklin County Sheriff has been named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Monday, attorneys for the family of Jennifer [Louise Carter] Agee filed a more than 20-million dollar lawsuit naming Sheriff Ewell Hunt and ex-husband [Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy] Jonathan Agee... Jonathan Agee's trial is set to begin in Montgomery County on Nov. 14 on the charge of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer. He is scheduled to be tried on the first-degree murder charge on Jan. 23, 2012 in Roanoke Circuit Court...

Jennifer Louise Carter Agee

...[Now-fired Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy Jonathan] Agee is accused of shooting Jennifer [Louise Carter] Agee to death May 30 in the Sheetz convenience store parking lot on Williamson Road in Roanoke, in front of one of their daughters... On the day of the shooting, Agee's current wife warned [Franklin County Sheriff Ewell] Hunt that her husband had an assault rifle, was on his way to see Jennifer Agee and threatened to kill her, police said. But according to radio logs, Hunt said he would handle the situation himself...


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CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LAWSUIT FILED BY ESTATE OF JENNIFER AGEE. If it becomes unavailable at that link or if you want a copy of the lawsuit that has been coverted from PDF to text form, email me.

UPDATE: JENNIFER AGEE'S FAMILY FILES WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT AGAINST ESTRANGED HUSBAND AND FRANKLIN CO. SHERIFF
WDBJ7-TV
September 7, 2011
[Excerpts] The Franklin County Sheriff has been named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Monday, attorneys for the family of Jennifer Agee filed a more than 20-million dollar lawsuit naming Sheriff Ewell Hunt and ex-husband Jonathan Agee... Jonathan Agee, a former Franklin County sheriff's deputy is accused of killing his estranged wife, Jennifer, in a gas station parking lot in Roanoke. Officers say he then led police on a chase into Montgomery County. They say he stopped on Interstate 81, and shot a state trooper before being shot himself. Agee and the trooper both survived. Franklin County Sheriff, Ewell Hunt, is named in the suit because the family contends Hunt knew that Agee was headed to Roanoke with the intention of harming his estanged wife but didn't act appropriately to warn authorities in other jursidictions. Jonathan Agee has been charged with her murder... [Full article here]


UPDATE: JENNIFER AGEE'S FAMILY FILES WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT AGAINST ESTRANGED HUSBAND AND FRANKLIN CO. SHERIFF
WDBJ7.com
September 07, 2011
[Excerpts] ...While attorneys say they trust in the legal system, they say this is a civil way to get "justice" for her family, including her two daughters. Matt Broughton, Jennifer Agee estate Attorney explains, "Jennifer Agee was a daughter, a mother, a friend, and a sister - and everyday she is sorely, sorely missed." The suit alleges Sheriff Hunt's negligence lead to Jennifer Agee's death and he could have kept his deputy, Jonathan Agee, from allegedly killing his ex-wife... [Full article here]

SHERIFF FACES LAWSUIT OVER MEMORIAL DAY KILLING
The VLW Blog
The Roanoke Times
By Peter Vieth
September 7th, 2011
[Excerpts] ...The family of Jennifer Agee claims Hunt deliberately concealed the murderous intentions of his deputy because Hunt feared embarrassment and wanted to win re-election... Hunt received word of Agee’s intention to kill his ex-wife, but directed his office not to alert other police agencies about the situation. “Sheriff Hunt’s actions not only led to the death of Jennifer Agee but they put at risk the lives of all citizens and law enforcement officers” in a three-county area, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Roanoke City Circuit Court. The lawsuit accusing Hunt of “willful and wanton” conduct and gross negligence also seeks damages from Jonathan Agee. Roanoke lawyer Matt Broughton said his firm filed the civil lawsuit even though criminal charges remain pending to encourage witnesses to come forward with information. “There is a wealth of information out there we think we can get if we just get the word out,” Broughton said... [Full article here]


FAMILY FILES $20 MILLION LAWSUIT IN JENNIFER AGEE'S SLAYING
The Roanoke Times
By Neil Harvey
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
[Excerpts] ..."At this moment in time, the beneficiaries of this estate would be her two minor daughters," [lawyer for Jennifer's estate, Greg] Habeeb said, referring to the Agee children... Diana Spain, Jennifer Agee's mother, and five other relatives attended. The attorneys answered no questions and called the lawsuit "a civil remedy to obtain justice."... On the day of the shooting, [Franklin County Sheriff Ewell] Hunt was warned that Deputy Agee was on his way to see his ex-wife with an assault rifle and had threatened to kill her, but according to radio logs, said he would handle the situation himself. He placed a call to police dispatch in Salem -- where Jennifer Agee lived -- but did not indicate an emergency... [Full article here]

JENNIFER AGEE'S ESTATE SUES SHERIFF, SUSPECT: The estate of Jennifer Agee has filed a $20 million lawsuit against Franklin County Sheriff Ewell Hunt and Jonathan Agee.
The Roanoke Times
By Neil Harvey
Thursday, September 08, 2011
[Excerpts] ...The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Roanoke Circuit Court by the estate of Jennifer Agee, says she was shot "five times at close range" by her ex-husband and maintained that Hunt's actions the day of her killing were driven by "fear of further embarrassment and his desire to win re-election." The suit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages, said lawyer Greg Habeeb, whose law firm represents Agee's estate... Jennifer Agee's mother, Diana Spain, is administrator of the estate and the Agees' two daughters would be the beneficiaries... The 18-page lawsuit alleges that Roanoke law enforcement became aware of the incident only after 911 calls from witnesses at the shooting and added, "Had Sheriff Hunt alerted them to Jonathan Agee's murderous intentions, they would have intervened to prevent a murder — rather than arrive to investigate one." The suit also claims that Agee had, prior to the shooting, begun "to illegally purchase and consume steroids which dramatically changed his physical appearance and behavior" and that "Sheriff Hunt knew or should have known about Jonathan Agee's illegal steroid consumption and took no actions to intervene"... During his getaway attempt in his patrol car, Agee wounded a state police sergeant before being wounded and captured by other troopers... [Full article here]

AGEE, HUNT NAMED IN WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT: Family of Jennifer Agee seeks $20 million
Franklin News Post
By Ken Bradley
Friday, September 9, 2011
[Excerpts] ...The suit alleges that "at no time before Jennifer Agee's death did Sheriff Hunt issue a 'Be On the Lookout' order and that Hunt's conduct was reckless, evincing a conscious disregard for the rights of others." Jonathan Agee's trial is set to begin in Montgomery County on Nov. 14 on the charge of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer. He is scheduled to be tried on the first-degree murder charge on Jan. 23, 2012 in Roanoke Circuit Court... [Full article here]


SHERIFF ACCUSED OF IGNORING STEROID USE BY DEPUTY CHARGED WITH MURDER
Cops and Steroids
By Millard Baker
September 10, 2011
[Excerpts] ... Police have previously pointed the finger at anabolic steroids as the culprit in the murder. Investigators found two vials of steroids, including one vial of testosterone cypionate, at Agee’s home and noted that Agee had “gotten much bigger” in the weeks leading up to the violence. Instead of blaming steroids, the lawyers for Jennifer Agee’s estate have decided to assign responsibility to Franklin County Sheriff Ewell Hunt. Hunt was named as a defendant in the wrongful death lawsui... “Had Sheriff [Franklin County Sheriff Ewell] Hunt alerted them to Jonathan Agee’s murderous intentions, they would have intervened to prevent a murder — rather than arrive to investigate one,” wrote Greg Habeeb and Matthew Broughton of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore. “When called to help personally and through 911 … Sheriff Hunt stood in the way of getting help. That’s shameful,” said Joe Stanley, the owner of a Facebook group called “Sheriff Ewell Hunt Must Resign”. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that “Sheriff Hunt knew or should have known about Jonathan Agee’s illegal steroid consumption and took no actions to intervene” suggesting that Agee’s recent consumption of anabolic steroids “dramatically changed his physical appearance and behavior”... [Full article here]


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POLICE EXAMINE TEXT MESSAGES BETWEEN JONATHAN AND JENNIFER AGEE: Investigators filed a search warrant for texts between Jonathan Agee and his ex-wife Jennifer.
The Roanoke Times
By Neil Harvey
Friday, August 12, 2011
[Excerpts] Investigators this week examined text messages sent between Jonathan and Jennifer Agee before her death on Memorial Day in the hope of finding incriminating evidence... all messages sent from and received by Jennifer Agee's cellphone from May 21 to May 30... Roanoke Commonwealth's Attorney Donald Caldwell said Thursday he didn't have knowledge of the contents of those messages and did not yet know whether they indicated a motive... Jonathan Agee is currently scheduled to stand trial in Montgomery County in mid-November, and in Roanoke in late January. [Full article here]

POLICE: STEROIDS FOUND IN HOME OF FORMER FRANKLIN CO. DEPUTY AGEE, ACCUSED IN EX-WIFE'S KILLING: Virginia State Police seized two vials of steroids from a safe in the former Franklin County sheriff's deputy's home, according to a search warrant filed Wednesday.
The Roanoke Times
By Jorge Valencia
Friday, August 19, 2011
[Excerpts] The Franklin County sheriff's deputy accused of fatally shooting his ex-wife on Memorial Day and wounding a state police sergeant had body-enhancing steroids in his home's gun safe and had outgrown his uniforms in the months before the violence, according to a search warrant. Virginia State Police detectives seized two vials of anabolic steroids and syringes from a basement gun safe in the Boones Mill home of former deputy Jonathan Agee... Agee's current wife said he told her on Memorial Day morning that he was going to kill Jennifer Agee... An earlier search warrant said Agee's current wife, Julia Angell, told investigators that she had overheard "very heated" telephone arguments between the former spouses and that Jennifer Agee had sent her text messages about "an ongoing relationship" between the Agees. Anabolic steroids help generate body mass and are illegal to use without a prescription. Some athletes use them illicitly for performance enhancements, with side effects that may include mood swings and so-called 'roid rage.... [Full article here]


VIRGINIA:
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE CITY OF ROANOKE

Case Number: CL11-1527

DIANA SPAIN, in her capacity as administratrix of the estate of Jennifer Louise Carter Agee
Plaintiff,
v.
EWELL HUNT, individually and in his capacity as Sheriff of Franklin County, Virginia
and
JONATHAN ASHLEY AGEE Defendants.

[Excerpts] ...Sheriff Hunt had prior knowledge that Jonathan Agee intended to kill Jennifer Agee, that he had the means to kill Jennifer Agee, that the murder would take place in the Roanoke Valley and that Jennifer Agee was unaware of Jonathan Agee's murderous intentions... Sheriff Hunt failed to warn Jennifer Agee or her family and failed to protect her by taking even the most basic steps to alert regional and state law enforcement... During his employment with the Franklin County Sheriffs Department and under the supervision, or lack thereof, of Sheriff Hunt, Jonathan Agee engaged in a pattern of disturbing and improper behavior. Jonathan Agee's behavior was readily known by Sheriff Hunt. Much of this disturbing behavior stemmed from Jonathan Agee's relationship with Hunt's daughter, Ashley Hunt... Jonathan Agee's and Ashley's misconduct was so prevalent and unprofessional that it led, in part, to the empanelling of a special grand jury to investigate Sheriff Hunt's Department... Jonathan Agee's relationship with Ashley began when she was still a minor and both were subordinate to Sheriff Hunt... Without training or experience, Ashley was allowed to accompany Sheriffs deputies, including Jonathan Agee, on stakeouts, patrols, drug buys, drug arrests, roundups, and processing of arrestees. On numerous occasions, Ashley and Jonathan Agee were alone in inappropriate situations... On at least one occasion, Jonathan Agee abandoned a drug deal stakeout so that he and Ashley could go to a local fast food restaurant approximately 20 minutes away from the stakeout location. As a result, the drug transaction occurred without Jonathan Agee present... Notwithstanding their inappropriate and unprofessional behavior, Jonathan Agee and Ashley Hunt were given preferential treatment by her father, Sheriff Hunt... Rather than fire his daughter for her inexcusable public outburst or Jonathan Agee for his blatantly inappropriate relationship with Ashley, Hunt instead refused to accept Ashley's resignation and allowed them both to continue in the Sheriffs Department's employ... Jonathan Agee began to illegally purchase and consume steroids which dramatically changed his physical appearance and behavior. Sheriff Hunt knew or should have known about Jonathan Agee's illegal steroid consumption and took no actions to intervene. Upon information and belief, Sheriff Hunt was also aware that Jonathan and Jennifer Agee had an ongoing custody battle over their two minor daughters and he knew that Jonathan Agee had made disparaging and threatening remarks about Jennifer.. Upon information and belief, sometime before 11:04 a.m. on May 30, 2011, Jonathan Agee told [wife Julia] Angell that he was going to Salem to kill Jennifer Agee...Angell called Jonathan Agee's father... At 11:04 a.m., Jonathan Agee's father called Sheriff Hunt and informed him that Jonathan Agee had left his house "in an agitated state with guns" in a marked Franklin County Sheriffs Department vehicle. Upon information and belief, as of this time, Sheriff Hunt knew that Jonathan Agee intended to kill Jennifer Agee. Inexplicably, Sheriff Hunt did not ask for, nor did he receive, the contact information for Jonathan's intended victim. Instead, Sheriff Hunt simply called Jonathan Agee's cell phone and left him a voicemail. At this time, he took no further actions to investigate the matter, alert the victim, alert local law enforcement or prevent the impending murder. At 11:07 a.m., Angell called 911 and reached the Franklin County Sheriffs Department dispatch. The dispatch notes reveal that Angell had called 911 to report that Agee "just got into his patrol car with an assault rifle" and "was going to Salem to kill his ex-wife." The fact that Angell had called emergency 911, rather than another number for the Franklin County Sheriffs Department, should have reinforced to Sheriff Hunt the emergency nature of the situation. During this conversation, the dispatcher could hear Jonathan Agee, who had apparently returned to the house, in the background. During this return visit, Jonathan Agee became aware that Angell had called 911 and reported that Jonathan Agee was going to Salem to murder Jennifer Agee. Agee then left his house in a well-marked, brightly-colored Franklin County Sheriffs Department K-9 police cruiser and headed towards the Roanoke Valley to murder Jennifer Agee. At this point, Sheriff Hunt had still not taken any actions to alert local, regional or state law enforcement that one of his Deputies in a marked Sheriffs Department vehicle carrying Sheriffs Department firearms was heading north to murder Jennifer Agee. Sheriff Hunt simply left a voicemail for Jonathan Agee as he headed towards his murderous destination. At approximately 11:10 a.m., having received no directions from Sheriff Hunt, the dispatcher desperately sent the Sheriff a text message asking him for more guidance. At approximately the same time, Sergeant Lewis Wimmer ("Wimmer") of the Franklin County Sheriffs Department was informed of Angell's report and of Jonathan Agee's murderous intentions. Wimmer immediately advised the dispatcher that the police in Salem and Roanoke County should be notified of Agee's intentions and of the fact that he was driving a marked Sheriffs Department cruiser. However, before the dispatcher could act on Wimmer's directive, Sheriff Hunt called in and spoke to the dispatcher... Sheriff Hunt inexplicably canceled this directive and instead said that he would call the Salem Police. When specifically asked whether Roanoke County should be alerted, he said "No, no, let me call them. Let me call them there"... Hunt never called Roanoke County. Hunt knew that Jonathan Agee was about to murder Jennifer, he knew that he had had the resources at hand to prevent the murder and he knew he had an affirmative obligation to employ such resources... At 11:18 a.m., at least 14 minutes after he first became aware that one of his Deputies was on his way to the Roanoke Valley to murder his ex-wife, Sheriff Hunt finally called the Salem Police dispatch. However, rather than urgently alert them to the pending murder and request all resources be deployed to prevent it, he simply left a message and asked that a supervisor give him a call. Hunt then called Franklin County dispatch again. A dispatcher named Robertson specifically asked Hunt if he needed the number for the Roanoke County Police. Hunt advised Robertson that he had that number. Once again, Hunt did not call Roanoke County. At the same time Hunt was directing dispatch to not report the pending murder and at the same time he was refusing to take any actions to alert law enforcement, Jonathan Agee was speeding ever closer to his victim. Upon information and belief, having become aware from Angell that law enforcement had been alerted to his Salem destination, Jonathan Agee contacted Jennifer Agee and arranged to meet her in the Sheetz convenience store parking lot at 1212 Williamson Road in the City of Roanoke. As Jonathan Agee sped into the Sheetz parking lot (at least 24 minutes after Sheriff Hunt had first learned of his murderous intentions), Jennifer Agee was sitting in a car in the parking lot with their older daughter, waiting patiently and oblivious to her ex-husband's intentions.

Jonathan pulled up behind Jennifer.

Jonathan and Jennifer stepped out of their cars.

Jennifer Agee was empty handed.

Jonathan Agee was holding a loaded assault rifle...

...911 calls immediately began to flood into Roanoke City dispatch. As a result of these 911 calls, regional law enforcement officers, for the first time, became aware of the incident and leapt into action. ithin seconds, Roanoke City Police were at the Sheetz, investigating the murder. Had Sheriff Hunt alerted them to Jonathan Agee's murderous intentions, they would have intervened to prevent a murder - rather than arrive to investigate one. Meanwhile, Agee was headed West on 460 into Montgomery County, where he was spotted by Virginia State Police Sergeant Matt Brannock ("Brannock"). Brannock immediately and bravely gave chase as Jonathan Agee drove onto 1-81 and headed North - back towards Roanoke. Jonathan Agee briefly stopped on the side of 1-81 near mile marker 125. There on the side of the interstate, a gunfight between Brannock and Jonathan Agee, Hunt's Deputy, broke out. During the fire fight, Agee shot and tried to kill Brannock before fleeing again... Jonathan Agee eventually pulled off of 1-81... At this point, another firefight broke out and Jonathan Agee was shot by two Virginia State Troopers who risked their own lives to ensure that Jonathan Agee's murderous rampage came to an end. Even after Jennifer's death, Hunt's instructions not to share information with anyone outside his own department held fast... Sheriff Hunt's actions and inactions were driven by his fear of further embarrassment and by his desire to win re-election. He made a conscious decision to conceal the murderous intentions of his Deputy in violation of the duties he owed Jennifer Agee. Sheriff Hunt's actions not only led to the death of Jennifer Agee but they put at risk the lives of all citizens and law enforcement officers in Franklin County, Roanoke County, Roanoke City, Salem and Montgomery County... As a result of the Defendants' actions, two little girls will never see their mother again... Sheriff Hunt had the capacity to stop Jonathan Agee... Sheriff Hunt had a special relationship with Jonathan Agee that gave rise to a duty to warn and protect Jennifer Agee... Sheriff Hunt and Jonathan Agee were in a master/servant relationship. Jonathan Agee used Sheriffs Department property to hunt down and kill Jennifer Agee. Sheriff Hunt knew or had reason to know that he could control Jonathan Agee. Sheriff Hunt knew or should have known of the necessity and opportunity to exercise that control. Sheriff Hunt acted utterly without regard for prudence, and his actions and/or omissions amounted to complete neglect for the safety of Jennifer Agee in violation of the above-referenced duties. Sheriff Hunt heedlessly and palpably violated his legal duty with respect to the safety of Jennifer Agee, and his actions and/or omissions amounted to the absence of slight diligence, or the want of even scant care... Jennifer Agee's murder was the result of the conduct of the Defendants. As a result of the Defendants' conduct, Jennifer Agee suffered serious and permanent injuries including death, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress and lost income... Plaintiff seeks all damages, including but not limited to compensatory and punitive damages, recoverable pursuant to the Virginia Wrongful Death Act, Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-50, et seq.

WHEREFORE, Diana Spain, in her capacity as administratrix of the estate of Jennifer Louise Carter Agee moves the Court for judgment against the Defendants, jointly and severally, in the amount of TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS ($20,000,000.00) in compensatory damages, THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($350,000.00) in punitive damages, pre and post-judgment interest thereon, all costs associated herewith and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate. Plaintiff requests trial by jury.

Respectfully submitted...
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder virginia state politics]

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