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Thursday, May 7, 2009
[NJ] Ex-Police Sgt. husband who murdered Barbara can get his pension payments back
No pension for convicted Millville police Sgt. Robert Vanaman
The News of Cumberland County
by By Matt Dunn
May 06, 2009
[Excerpts] ...Robert Vanaman, 40, has applied, however, to be reimbursed $40,000 he paid into the state pension system during his years as a police officer in Millville, according to one of Vanaman's attorneys, Charles Coant of Vineland... It is expected $5,000 will be used to reimburse the Victims of Crime Compensation Office for expenses the office paid toward the funeral of Robert Vanaman's wife, 37-year-old Barbara Vanaman... [Full article here]
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BRIDGETON: Court has lawsuit against convicted wife-killer Robert VanamanReplyDelete
Vineland Daily Journal
From staff reports • May 7, 2009
A civil lawsuit seeking damages from admitted wife-killer Robert E. Vanaman was delivered today to Cumberland County Superior Court.
Whippany attorney Richard D. Pompelio, a prominent victims' rights advocate,is representing the family of victim Barbara Elke Vanaman in the case. Specifically, he is representing Karin Shaffer, her mother and administrator of her estate.
The lawsuit also names his mother, Nancy Vanaman, as a defendant, and seeks to prevent her from getting the proceeds of two State Farm Insurance Companies life insurance policies Robert Vanaman bought for Barbara Vanaman. One policy is for $107,000 and the other for $250,000.
The suit cites a state law barring the "relative of a killer" from profiting on the "killer's wrongdoing."
"I got involved the day after Mr. Vanaman entered a plea of guilty," Pompelio said. His firm submitted a letter to the trial judge concerning how to handle victim impact statements.
"The next thing I know, we were being asked for help," he said.
The six-count complaint states that it "seeks to secure all assets legally belonging to the estate of Barbara Elke Vanaman and such damages to which the estate of Barbara Elke Vanaman is entitled as a result of her wrongful death by Robert Vanaman, and to secure said assets and damages for the benefit of the two minor children of plaintiff's decedent under such conditions as the court deems necessary and appropriate."
Robert Vanaman shot to death Barbara Vanaman in the kitched of their Millville home after an argument. She was leaving him to get a divorce.
Vanaman was a police sergeant in Millville at the time. In March, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and tampering with evidence. He was sentenced May 1 to a maximum of nine years in state prison.
Reached today, Nancy Vanaman said she had nothing to say about the suit.
Barbara Vanaman's mother files lawsuit against Millville police Sgt. Robert Vanaman
by Matt Dunn, The News of Cumberland County
Thursday May 07, 2009, 4:34 PM
MILLVILLE - The mother of a woman shot and killed by Millville police Sgt. Robert Vanaman has filed a civil lawsuit against Vanaman to ensure the recently convicted law enforcement officer does not benefit monetarily from her daughter's death.
The lawsuit filed by Karen Shaffer also seeks to collect a monetary judgment against Vanaman under the wrongful death statute.
Robert Vanaman, 40, was sentenced last week to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter and tampering with evidence in connection with the May 11, 2006 shooting death of his 37-year-old wife, Barbara Vanaman.
Barbara Vanaman had two life insurance policies totaling over $350,000, of which Robert Vanaman could be entitled.
One of the two policies, the larger of the pair at $250,000, lists Robert Vanaman's mother, Nancy Vanaman, as a "successor beneficiary."
Barbara Vanaman shared a home with Robert Vanaman, most recently assessed at about $160,000.
Although a lawyer representing Robert Vanaman said earlier this week that Vanaman will not be collecting a pension from the state for his time with the Millville Police Department, Vanaman has filed a request to reclaim about $60,000 in contributions he put into the state
Shaffer wrote, in a statement accompanying the lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Cumberland County, that Robert Vanaman will go to "any length to protect what he believes is rightfully his, that includes denying his children what is rightfully theirs."
"Any monies received by Barbara's children should be protected and under control of the court," she wrote . "If not their father will victimize them once again."
Richard Pompelio, Shaffer's lawyer, said Thursday that "there's a principle in the law that says a wrongdoer can not benefit from his or her wrongdoing."
"In this case, there was a lot of wrongdoing," he said. "The basis for this lawsuit is that Robert Vanaman killed Barbara Vanaman and should not profit from his wrongdoing."
Vanaman sued by slain wife's family
Vineland Daily Journal
By JOSEPH P. SMITH
May 8, 2009
BRIDGETON -- A New Jersey prison sentence is not protecting admitted wife-killer Robert E. Vanaman from more legal trouble -- this time in civil court.
Vanaman, sentenced last week to a maximum of nine years behind bars, is the main target of a civil lawsuit initiated by the family of Barbara Vanaman and delivered Thursday to Cumberland County Superior Court. The six counts in the complaint include allegations of wrongful death from intentional conduct and from negligent conduct, as well as survivor pain and suffering.
The intent is to strip Vanaman of financial assets, setting them aside for his minor sons Dylan and Dean, and to give the family of his wife Barbara legal control over their distribution. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages, along with interest, counsel fees and lawsuit costs.
The suit also names as a defendant Robert Vanaman's mother, Nancy Vanaman, as well as State Farm Insurance Companies.
Nancy Vanaman, who declined comment Thursday, is the secondary beneficiary on a $250,000 life insurance policy her son bought from State Farm for Barbara Vanaman. The suit would invalidate that status.
Robert Vanaman is the main beneficiary on another policy, that one for $107,000. His sons are the secondary beneficiaries.
The law firm of Whippany attorney Richard D. Pompelio, a prominent activist for victims of crime, prepared the lawsuit for the Shaffer family. It seeks a jury trial.
Karin Shaffer and her husband John, stepfather to Barbara Vanaman, referred questions to the attorney.
Bridgeton attorney Genora Rosypal, who represents Robert Vanaman in civil court, would not comment.
Pompelio said a Family Court judge has instructed the family to avoid public statements. The Shaffer family has a court order allowing visitation with their daughter's sons.
"I got involved the day after Mr. Vanaman entered a plea of guilty," Pompelio said. His firm had submitted a letter to the trial judge concerning how to handle victim impact statements.
"The next thing I know, we were being asked for help," he said.
Besides the lawsuit, the Shaffer family is in county Probate Court seeking additional legal authority to act as administrator of Barbara Vanaman's legal estate.
Robert Vanaman, 40, shot to death Barbara Vanaman, 37, in the kitchen of their home on Wedgewood Court in Millville on May 11, 2006 after an argument. The argument grew out of a family meeting called to talk about her leaving to be with her boyfriend Joel Dugan.
Robert Vanaman, then a Millville police sergeant, shot her twice in the chest with his service pistol. He inflicted knife wounds on his body and claimed self-defense.
On March 30, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and tampering with evidence.
He admitted the wounds were self-inflicted, although he continues to claim his wife did threaten him with a knife.
The six-count complaint "seeks to secure all assets legally belonging to the estate of Barbara Elke Vanaman and such damages to which the estate of Barbara Elke Vanaman is entitled as a result of her wrongful death by Robert Vanaman, and to secure said assets and damages for the benefit of the two minor children of plaintiff's decedent under such conditions as the court deems necessary and appropriate."
Pompelio said state law disqualifies Robert Vanaman from making money from the crime. The same law disqualifies his relatives, he added.
Pompelio said the suit gives no deference to any money the main defendant owes to attorneys who represented him at trial.
Robert Vanaman is currently being held in Salem County Jail, according to Pompelio.
ROBERT VANAMAN'S PENSION
# Public records list him as owner since 1994 of a house at 2230 S. Wedgewood Court in Millville. The house is listed for property tax purposes at $159,900.
# The New Jersey Treasury tracks public employee pensions. Vanaman contributed $59,834.73 to his pension during his time as a Millville police officer.
# He was an officer from 1991 until resigning April 14 as part of his plea agreement.
# He gave up any right to a full pension payment in the future under his plea. However, he may reclaim what he contributed to the fund.
# Treasury spokesman Tom Bell said returned pension contributions generally are not subject to court orders or garnishment.
# A pension is subject to a divorce settlement.