Local Officer Who Strangled Businessman Must Pay Millions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A former Jacksonville police officer who strangled a businessman in his patrol car while committing a robbery and the officer's police accomplice have been ordered to pay their victim's family $9.8 million.

An attorney representing the family of Sami Safar (pictured, left), Jeffrey Morris, said he realizes the amount may never be paid, but said, "It's a recognition by the court of the tremendous loss to the Safar family caused by the murder."

Morris called it ?the final nail in the legal action versus Waldon and Sinclair.?

Senior U.S. District Judge John Moore II on Tuesday ordered the convicted officers, Karl Waldon and Aric Sinclair (both pictured, right), to pay the amount, which is based on economic damage calculations by a University of North Florida economist.

Waldon robbed and strangled Safar in the back seat of his squad car on July 3, 1998, after the convenience store owner withdrew $51,000 from a SouthTrust Bank branch. Sinclair, working security at the bank, gave Waldon information about Safar's banking habits and car.

In February, the Safar family settled a wrongful death claim with the city for $375,000 and received an undisclosed amount from the bank.

Waldon is serving four life sentences and was ordered to pay $58,900 in restitution when he was sentenced in January 2003 for 14 federal convictions, including violating the civil rights of Safar.

Waldon was also convicted of taking drugs from drug dealers, trying to cover up his involvement by lying to a federal grand jury and trying to intimidate a witness. He was found not guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Sinclair is serving a term of 17 years and seven months after pleading guilty to conspiracy.

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