MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Named as a party to the suit, Monongalia County Commission President Ed Hawkins said the jury’s decision in the Christie Cathers wrongful death suit was a win for the entire county.
“I believe it’s reassuring to our community that the proper training allows for a correct procedure and response,” he said. “Both our Sheriff’s Department and MECCA 911 reacted appropriately to what is truly a tragic incident.”
The verdict came following five days worth of arguments and testimony about the final days and hours in the life of Christie Cathers, a 45-year-old woman shot to death on June 5, 2015, by Monongalia County Sheriff’s Deputy A.D. Coe. Coe, along with two other deputies, were cross-examined as part of the wrongful death suit brought by Greg S. Farmerie.
“I believe it shows confidence in what the Sheriff’s Department does in the community — that this verdict came in in this fashion,” Hawkins said.
The suit, first filed in Jan. 2016, tried to prove negligence on the part of the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department, MECCA 911 radio operators, and also named the County Commission in the suit. Hawkins said the County Commission held an insurance policy for such an occasion, but was not actually responsible for the training of county employees at other agencies.
“Truth be told, it is not our place to run any other agency,” he said. “We do not have any bureaucratic power other than the budgetary action that we take.”
The verdict, which a jury arrived at in less than two hours Monday afternoon, found 87 percent of the fault in Cathers’ death with Christie Cathers herself. 10 percent of the blame was apportioned to the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department. Three percent was apportioned to MECCA 911.
The case was heard by Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Thomas A. Bedell.