JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The mother and twin brother of a 20-year-old Jacksonville woman who was shot and killed in 2011 were left speechless Tuesday when a Duval County jury awarded her estate more than $495 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the former classmates involved in her death.
Lynnette Roebuck said she was shocked and overwhelmed by the jury's decision, but no amount of money could fill the emptiness left by the murder of her daughter, Kalil McCoy.
"This amount of money, it can't take the place of a life,” Roebuck said.
Kalil's twin brother, Adil McCoy, said he couldn't believe the total the jury came back with.
"I'm still speechless," he said. "No price can bring my sister back. I'd rather have my sister back with me."
Attorney John Phillips, who represented Kalil's family in the wrongful death case, said that while the total is more symbolic than realistic, he hopes the eye-popping number sends a message to others -- no matter how much of it her family eventually collects.
“Nobody in Jacksonville can pay a half-million dollar verdict -- we're aware. But guess what? If now people know the criminal justice system is waiting for them and the civil justice system is waiting for them -- maybe they'll call crime stoppers after a crime,” Phillips said. “Maybe they'll do something to be more responsible if they know justice is beyond full and fair in Jacksonville, Florida."
Kalil was shot and killed by Frederick Wade after the two got into an argument while they were riding in a vehicle with four other friends. Wade claimed the gun went off accidentally, but he was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 45 years in prison for his role in Kalil's shooting death.
Kennard Mahone and Jonathan Brooks, who were also in the car when the gun went off, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact for helping Wade carry Kalil's body into a wooded area, where it was later found.
Kalil, Wade, Mahone, Brooks and Alfred Mears were classmates at Andrew Jackson High School, the school McCoy had graduated from weeks before her death.
"They took her body and they threw it like trash, but you're supposed to be her friend? They don't even get that from me. They're not friends; they were animals,” Roebuck said. “Friends don't do friends like that."
The McCoy estate wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2013 named Wade, Mahone and Brooks. A jury decided altogether to award the estate $495,123,680.
In addition to $3,680 for funeral expenses and $10 million for "lost services" in Kalil McCoy's death, the jury award breaks down like this:
|For intentional distress||Punitive damages|
|Frederick Wade Kennard Mahone Jonathan Brooks||$150 million $75 million $60 million||$100 million $50 million $50 million|
Wade is still in prison and Phillips can't find Mears. The attorneys will pursue the money from Mahone and Brooks through a collections process.
"Collection attorneys will do what collection attorneys do. We hang the numbers, they collect them. All that will be determined -- whether the family sees $10 or $10 million or $100 million,” Phillips said. “We charged the jury with being able to send a message and do something on a civil perspective.”
A fifth person named in the 2013 wrongful death suit, Pamela Vann, was Wade's aunt and the owner of the vehicle he was driving. Phillips said her insurance company settled with the McCoy estate years ago.
Roebuck said it pains her to see the lives of Kalil's classmates moving on, while her daughter's can't.
“I don't get to see my daughter dance like she wanted to -- because she would have been a fantastic dancer. I don't get to see her have an engagement ring on her finger to get married," Roebuck said. "I don't get to see her little kids running around. I don't get to have her kids call me 'Nana.' I don't get that."
Roebuck said said she's moved to California, where she started a Kalil McCoy dance studio in her daughter's honor.
Phillips said even though McCoy's estate may never collect $495 million, the parties responsible will be required to pay the civil suit for the rest of their lives.