Jackie Lynn Creighton



Claimant appeared in person.

Robert D. Williams, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of West Virginia.

An application of the claimant, Jackie Lynn Creighton, for an award under the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Act, was filed June 6, 2003. The report of the Claim Investigator, filed November 13, 2003, recommended that no award be granted. An Order was issued on December 22, 2003, upholding the Investigator's recommendation and denying the claim, in response to which the claimant's request for hearing was filed January 9, 2004. This matter came on for hearing September 16, 2004, the claimant appearing in person, and the State of West Virginia by counsel, Robert D. Williams, Assistant Attorney General.
On May 4, 2003, Robert D. Creighton, the claimant's 25-year-old husband, was the victim of criminally injurious conduct inWheeling, Ohio County. The victim was involved in an altercation when the offender, Timia Jamar Johnson, fatally shot the victim in the neck. Timia Jamar Johnson has since pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter for this offense and was sentenced to three to 15 years in jail.
As a result of the shooting in which Robert D. Creighton was killed, the claimant incurred unreimbursed funeral expenses of $880.89.
This Court's initial denial of an award was based on the Claim Investigator's finding that the claimant was not an innocent victim of crime. W.Va. Code §14-2A-3(l) states: " 'Contributory misconduct' means any conduct of the claimant ... that is unlawful or intentionally tortious and that, without regard to the conduct's proximity in time or space to the criminally injurious conduct has causal relationship to the criminally injurious conduct that is the basis of the claim and shall also include the voluntary intoxication of the claimant, either by the consumption of alcohol or the use of any controlled substance when the intoxication has a causal connection or relationship to the injury sustained."
The claimant testified at the hearing of this matter that on the evening in question, she had been at home when her husband, Robert Creighton, came home at 1:30 a.m. She stated that he had been at his brother's house watching a boxing match all evening. Mrs. Creighton testified that she did not smell any alcohol on her husband. Mr. Creighton then left to take his son to his grandmother's house. At 3:30 a.m., Mrs. Creighton received a telephone call informing her that her husband had been shot. She proceeded to the scene, arriving about five minutes later, only to find that her husband was already dead. Mrs. Creighton testified that her husband had been sitting outside the bar waiting for a friend. She stated that her husband had been barred from entering that bar, but that this was in relation to a lawsuit that they had against the bar for a previous incident in which her husband had fallen and broken his arm on the bar's premises. While he was waiting outside, a man came out and said more or less that he wanted to hurt somebody. The man, Timia Jamar Johnson
, approached her husband and he defended himself. Mr. Creighton was then shot and killed.
Allecia M. Creighton, the victim's mother, testified that on the date of the incident, she was at her home in Cleveland. She received a telephone call at 3:30 a.m. from her mother telling her that her son had been shot. At 4:00 a.m., she received another telephone call informing her that her son had died. Ms. Creighton testified that her son had been sitting outside a bar on his friend's car when the offender came outside and stated that he wanted to kill a couple of people that day. Her son apparently thought that the man was talking to him, and a fight ensued. Mr. Creighton was walking away from the fight when someone called his name. He turned around and was shot in the neck. Ms. Creighton testified that her son then ran toward his vehicle and tied his shirt around his neck to try to stop the bleeding. Ms. Creighton stated that her son died beside his vehicle.
Donna Saunders, Robert Creighton's godmother, testified that he was not a troublemaker. She stated that he would not start a fight, but that he would not just let someone come up to him and punch him in the face. Ms. Saunders testified that she is raising Mr. Creighton's son, Deshawn Creighton.
The Claim Investigator's original finding was that the claimant was guilty of contributory misconduct within the meaning of the statute. The original Order upheld the Claim Investigator's finding, disallowing the claim. Thus it became the claimant's burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that her husband was not guilty of contributory misconduct.
The claimant testified that her husband had not been drinking. Mrs. Creighton also testified that while her husband had been barred from entering the bar, he had only been barred from there because of a pending lawsuit. Allecia Creighton testified that her son had been walking away from the altercation with the offender when the offender shot him. In the light of the evidence put forth by the claimant, the Court is of the opinion that the claimant has met her burden of proof. The evidence adduced at the hearing of the matter establishes that the claimant had not been drinking and was in no way guilty of contributory misconduct.
The Court is constrained by the evidence to reverse its previous ruling and find that the claimant was not guilty of contributory misconduct. Following the hearing, the Court received documentation of unreimbursed allowable expenses of $500.00 for funeral expenses. An additional $380.89 is due and owing to the funeral home. Accordingly, an award in the total sum of $880.89 is hereby granted as set out below. Should the claimant later submit evidence of any additional unreimbursed allowable expenses relating to the criminal incident giving rise to this claim, they will be reviewed by the Court at that time.
Kepner Funeral Homes
1308 Chapline St.
Wheeling, WV 26003
FEIN: 55-0568720...............................................................$380.89

Jackie Lynn Creighton
19300 Marvin Rd.
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
............................................................. $500.00


ENTER: _____________________________________________