Nevada Lawyers are arguing that the victims of notorious Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock should be given his fortune without the need for costly court proceedings.
The Las Vegas shooting that happened in October remains the most deadly mass shooting in US history with 57 killed and over 500 injured. However, unlike most domestic terrorists, Paddock was a millionaire. Now lawyers for the victims family are saying that Paddock’s heirs shouldn’t inherit his fortune and that it should instead be divided amongst Paddock’s victims.
Paddock is believed to have amassed over $5 million through savvy real estate deals and high-stakes gambling. Under Nevada law, that fortune would go to Paddock’s mother, Irene Hudson, but lawyers are arguing that money should go to the victims.
And Paddock’s family agrees.
However, Erick Paddock, Stephen’s brother, believes the fortune will turn out to be far less than the $5 million victim’s lawyers think it is, and will likely be closer to $1 million. “He probably cashed out and threw it all in a Dumpster because it was his and that was Stephen,” Eric Paddock told the New York Times. “He just didn’t care.”
A victim’s fund already exists for the families of those killed in the Vegas shooting. One idea floated by lawyers is to roll Paddock’s estate into the $22 million fund so it is distributed among the victims.
“There is no precedent here,” said Nevada lawyer Alice Denton when asked if there had ever been a similar instance in legal history. “Most mass killers have been indigent or had modest assets or none to speak of,” which meant that there was essentially nothing to provide the victims.
A lengthy court process to distribute those funds to victims would significantly deplete Paddock’s estate, which is why lawyers are hoping to negotiate a legal method divide it up without a trial.
Jeff Dion, deputy executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, says that adding the estate to the victim’s fund might prevent some victims from cashing in. “The good thing is that it is a way to distribute those funds outside of litigation so there would not be legal fees. The drawbacks and reasons that might make it incompatible is that those not eligible under our protocols would be shut out.”
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