The parents of a Crofton teen fatally beaten blocks from his home won what they consider a hollow victory Monday when a judge ordered one of their son's killers to pay them nearly $1.8 million.
"It could have been $100 million, and it's not going to make a difference," said David Jones, the father of Christopher Jones, who died in 2009 at age 14. "It's not going to bring him back."
His parents said they doubt they'll see much, if any, of the monetary penalty levied against 20-year-old Javel George, who failed to appear for trial. But they said the decision by Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North will follow George for years.
"It is a reminder for him every day for what he did," Jones said.
Christopher Jones died of injuries suffered in a May 2009 attack blamed on youth gang animosities, though the teen wasn't in either of the opposing gangs. George and another teenager, who was charged as a juvenile, acknowledged delivering the blows and admitted in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to committing manslaughter.
Both have been released from juvenile facilities, but Jones' family can pursue trying to get money from George.
"We can enforce it until the day he dies. It will prevent him buying a house. If he ever gets married, he'll have to tell his wife he killed somebody," said Jenny Adkins, Christopher's mother. "It's financial ruin for him."
The family recalled their son as a boy who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a deputy sheriff in Prince George's County.
His mother said money isn't the issue for the family, but the lack of an apology is.
"This May will be four years, and to this date not one single kid has apologized to me," Adkins said. "That's the hardest thing for me."
Authorities said six youths surrounded Christopher as he bicycled to his mother's house. Another teen, then George, punched him, resulting in injuries that led to his death.
In various hearings settling the wrongful-death lawsuit, one youth walked out of the courthouse barefoot, as Adkins took his New Balance sneakers as payment because his family was not insured. Financial settlements with four other families are confidential. The county school system was dismissed as a potential defendant in the case, and only George and his mother remained.
According to court records, recent notices to George were returned. His mother did not appear in court, nor did an attorney for them.
The award for noneconomic damages — all but $10,000 of the overall award — is the maximum allowed by law, said Richard Jaklitsch, attorney for Christopher's family. Though the trial is over, Jaklitsch said the family won't forget George's role.
"Wherever he goes for a job, we are going to be there," so the family can try to capture a portion of his wages, Jaklitsch said.
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