Thursday, October 11, 2007

$1.5 Million Judgment Against Hendry Sheriff

Sheriff And Plaintiffs Stipulate A Settlement Amount

LABELLE, FL. -- After a complicated multi-year, multi-lawyered series of Federal and State court cases, Sheriff Ronnie E. Lee Sr. has had a final judgment issued against him as Hendry county Sheriff. The judgment filed October 9 in the Hendry Circuit Court is in the amount of $1,500,000.

The Sheriff was found negligent in carrying out his duties and that his department's negligence caused the death of a Ft. Myers woman in 1998. The court cases resulted from Lee hiring a jailed inmate, Terry Lynn Gartno as a confidential informant and allowed him out of jail early. Gartno killed a woman in a traffic crash in Ft. Myers during a period of time Gartno had been working for the DEA and the Hendry County Sheriff in making drug buys.

Larry Norman Waddell, as personal representative of the estate of Kristina Waddell, who was killed in the traffic crash, was awarded damages in the amount of $600,000. Gary Leonard Wheeler was also awarded $600,000.  The third plaintiff, Erik S. Hemerson was awarded $300,000.

June 17, 2007 Story - Hendry Sheriff Loses Circuit Court Case

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