MORGANTOWN – A Morgantown man is suing the Monongalia County Commission after he claims it is responsible for the shooting death of a woman.
Two unnamed deputies, Sheriff Kenneth A. Kisner, Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department; and Monongalia County Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency MECCA 911 were also named as defendants in the suit.
At approximately 6:15 a.m. on June 4, Christie L. Cathers dropped her husband, Matthew Cathers, off at work and at 12:15 p.m. Christie Cathers entered the Huntington National Bank in Morgantown and withdrew $982.85 and closed her checking account, according to a complaint filed Jan. 6 in Monongalia Circuit Court.
Gregory S. Farmerie, the administrator of Christie Cathers’ estate, claims at 3:15 p.m., Matthew Cathers was waiting for his wife to pick him up from work and finally, was driven by a co-worker home, where he discovered his wife missing and their house in complete disarray.
Matthew Cathers then called MECCA to report his wife missing and a deputy was dispatched, according to the suit.
Farmerie claims a missing persons report was filed and a “be on the lookout” was issued for Christie Cathers, listing her physical description and the vehicle’s information and description.
After Christie Cathers’ last known cellular location was discovered, a deputy transported Matthew Cathers to the location, which was across the street from Jo’s Globe Distribution Center, and dropped him off to search for his wife and her cell phone.
Farmerie claims Matthew Cathers searched for her, but did not find her or her phone and returned to his residence on foot. Unknown to him or to the deputy, Christie Cathers had purchased a new cell phone from a Verizon store in Morgantown earlier that day.
At 4:22 p.m., Christie Cathers checked into the Spring Hill Suites Marriot Hotel and the front desk clerk later described her as not seeming all together or coherent and even informed the next shift of staff to keep an eye on her, according to the suit.
At approximately 8 a.m., the night shift worker informed a day shift employee that a lady had left a bag in the lobby and believed it to be Christie Cathers’ and the employee took the bag to her and later described her as “really panicky.”
On June 5, at approximately 3:13 p.m., a call came into MECCA advising that there was a female subject at Pierpont South Estates in Morgantown armed with a knife getting into a gray Dodge Avenger and that the subject could be under the influence of something.
Two minutes later, another call came into MECCA, advising that the woman was yelling and screaming and two deputies were dispatched to the scene.
When the first deputy arrived, the woman believed to be Christie Cathers, was already gone and he attempted to locate her in the area. After locating the second deputy, both vehicles activated their lights and sirens and stopped Christie Cathers on Harner Run Road.
The second unnamed deputy and a third deputy, who is not a defendant in the suit, exited their vehicle with their weapons drawn and approached Christie Cathers. At some point, the third deputy was positioned in front of the vehicle with his gun drawn, giving verbal commands to Christie Cathers, at which point, the vehicle moved forward in his direction.
The third deputy did not feel the need to use deadly force on Christie Cathers and she moved her vehicle around the deputy. At this point, the second deputy fired his weapon into Christie Cathers’ vehicle, but it is believed that none of the shots struck her.
At some point shortly thereafter, the first deputy continued the pursuit of Christie Cathers and when Christie Cathers made a u-turn in an attempt to go in the opposite direction, the first deputy fired three rounds with his weapon into her vehicle, striking her in the elbow region.
The deputy then fired six or seven rounds from his weapon into her vehicle and one of the rounds entered her left rear shoulder and exited out of the front of her body under her left collarbone region.
Another round entered the lower right rear region of her skull and exited with a downward trajectory on the right rear of her neck, likely killing her instantly, according to the suit.
Farmerie claims at no point did the first deputy try to stop Christie Cathers’ vehicle with less deadly force.
The plaintiff claims the defendants used excessive force and are responsible for Christie Cathers’ wrongful death.
"It's a tragic situation," said attorney Scott Segal, who is representing the plaintiff. "And because of the circumstances, you have a Navy Seal with three kids reaching out for help. I'm going to work through the appropriate legal channels to get some answers because the family deserves that."
Farmerie is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Segal and C. Edward Amos II of the Segal Law Firm.
Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 16-C-9