MORGANTOWN – A Texas woman is suing the City of Westover after she claims it is responsible for her sister’s wrongful death.
On Dec. 1, 2014, Sharon Kay Berkshire died as a result of a series of murders by shooting, also including victims Michael David Frum, Jody Lee Taylor and Douglas Allen Brady, according to a complaint filed in Monongalia Circuit Court.
Rachel Coll claims the murders were committed by Jody Lee Hunt , who had previously had a romantic relationship with Berkshire.
Frum later became romantically involved with Berkshire and Hunt began searching for them to harm them, according to the suit.
Coll claims Hunt was influenced by and obtained information from Westover for the purposes of identifying Frum, pursuing and harassing him and Berkshire and determining the location of Frum and Berkshire.
Westover is vicariously liable for the negligent acts of its agents, servants or employees, according to the suit.
Coll claims Berkshire made an application to Monongalia Magistrate Court for domestic violence protective orders against Hunt in December 2013 and October 2014.
The chief of Westover Police Department began an investigation due to concerns that Hunt had gained information through the department that directly influenced Hunt’s mindset in the murders of Frum and Berkshire and the investigation revealed that an employee had been communicating with Hunt leading up to the murders and had supplied Hunt with private information, according to the suit.
Coll claims because of the private information, Hunt was able to locate Frum and Berkshire and they were found shot to death at Sunset Beach Road in Monongalia County.
Coll is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Bader C. Giggenbach of Brewer & Giggenbach; and J. Michael Benninger of Benninger Law.
Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 16-C-541