Family wins wrongful death lawsuit five years after loved one killed by reported prowler

Ruth Helen Harrion was murdered in 2014 after calling 911 to report a prowler. JPD officers...
Ruth Helen Harrion was murdered in 2014 after calling 911 to report a prowler. JPD officers responded, saw nothing and left. Her children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Jackson. Source: WLBT
Updated: May. 17, 2019 at 7:54 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Nearly five years after her brutal murder, a trial was underway regarding the death of Ruth Helen Harrion.

Harrion’s daughter Angela, and the family were awarded $1 million in damages for their mother’s wrongful death.

“Justice has been served. We’re thankful for it. We just hope some changes with Jackson police department, make some changes. Because of the situation with my mom. It has been a terrible experience since July 2014. And we look further to working with the DA on the criminal," said Harrion.

The 67-year-old was killed in July 2014 after calling 911 to report a prowler outside her Kingsroad Avenue home.

Jackson Police Department officers went to the home, knocked, looked around and then left.

Alonzo Stewart, who was 32-years-old at the time, was charged with capital murder, but he has not gone to trial.

Harrion’s children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Jackson after her murder.

RELATED: Harrion family seeks answers in mother’s killing

According to the family attorney, Dennis Sweet III, two trials occurred Friday in Hinds County Circuit Court, the last day of the testimony.

A Civil Rights violation case against the City of Jackson was determined by a jury and a Mississippi Tort Claims Act case was decided by Judge Adrienne Wooten.

“Actually it was a dual trial. We trialed the 1983 action. Which is a jury trial, and now the judge has to make a decision on the tort claims act. You know that’s capped at 500,000. But it’s a judge trial, it’s not a jury trial. So she heard the evidence as the case was going forward. So she’ll make that determination," said Sweet.

Jurors began deliberating in the lawsuit filed by Harrion’s children Friday evening.

The family claimed a violation of civil rights, reckless disregard and negligence.

“We’re quiet, but that does not mean that we’ve forgotten,” Angela Harrion said after her mother’s death in 2017. “And we don’t want anyone else to forget struggle that we are going through.”

City attorneys said there is no proof that responding officers violated policy.

The family’s attorney issued a statement after the verdict was announced.

“The family of Ruth Helen Harrion and her attorneys are pleased that the City of Jackson was found to be responsible for failing to react to her 911 car appropriately. This, however, is just one part of the justice they are seeking. Family members continue to wait for the man who brutally raped and killed Mrs. Harrion to be held accountable for his crimes.”

Dennis C. Sweet, III

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