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Kruspe Family may have case for Wrongful Death Claim

body at crime scene

In 2017, Stephen Kruspe, a 62-year old former Marine, shot and killed his wife of 42 years, Pamela, outside of the assisted living facility she was residing at. On Tuesday, August 8, a Palm Beach County Judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison for what Kruspe called an act of mercy. Some family members called it murder.

Pamela Kruspe suffered from Dementia, had reportedly spoken about suicide

The day Pamela Kruspe was shot and killed, her husband had signed her out of the Parkside Inn Assisted Living Facility in Boynton Beach and taken her to dinner. Upon their return, he shot her in the chest, then called 911 and told dispatchers what he had done.

Mercy Killing or Murder?

In March, 2017, Stephen Kruspe told authorities he shot his wife becaus she was “beyond help,” and because she asked him to. He was charged with first degree murder. However, his story changed a year later when forensic evidence revealed Pamela Kruspe’s DNA on the gun, indicating she may have played a role in the shooting.

According to authorities, Stephen Kruspe brought the gun to the assisted living facility to “snap his wife out of her fixation with death,” not to kill her, said his attorney, Chris Haddad. Haddad later said Kruspe’s memory had been affected by stress that doctors would have communicated to a jury if the case proceeded to trial.

The charges were reduced to second degree murder, then to manslaughter by assisted suicide by the Palm Beach County State Attorney after Kruspe refused to plead guilty. Stephanie Wilhelm, the Kruspe’s daughter said she agreed to the reduced charges hoping it would bring “long overdue” peace for the family, even though she believed her father’s actions still constituted murder.

While Wilhelm called the shooting of Pamela Kruspe murder, her brother Matthew said his father’s actions were an “act of love.” According to Stephen Kruspe, his wife wanted to die to end the suffering her dementia had caused. She began deteriorating in 2016, and at times threatened to kill her family members, before changing her mind and promising to kill herself.

In speaking to the Judge, Stephen Kruspe, conveyed his former wife’s message that she wanted to die, telling the court, “I did not intend to kill my wife. I certainly did not murder her.”

Judge decides Pamela Kruspe was not a willing participant in her own death

Despite the testimony, Circuit Judge Caroline Shepherd, agreed with prosecutors who rebutted the idea that Pamela Kruspe played a role in orchestrating her death. In imposing a 20-year sentence on Stephen Kruspe, Shepherd admonished the defendant.

“She was vulnerable, She needed your help and support. You may believe that you supported her in the way you thought she needed it – but if that were the case, you wouldn’t be sitting here before me now.” Kruspe will be credited with the six years he has spent in jail since his arrest in 2017.

Does Kruspe Family have the right to file a Wrongful Death claim based on Inadequate Security?

Businesses in Florida have a legal responsibility to provide reasonably safe premises. While businesses can’t guarantee crimes will not occur on their property, Florida law requires that they consider various factors in deciding what types of security measures they should implement.

Under Florida premises liability law, business owners have a duty to reduce the opportunity for criminals to engage in violent acts such as shootings, robberies, rape, or murder. When they fail to do so, and a violent act occurs that results in severe injury or death, the victim(s) or surviving family members may be able to file a civil liability claim against the property owner of management company for inadequate security.

Questions about a potential Inadequate Security/Premises Liability Case?

An injury that is the result of inadequate security/premises liability can have a serious impact on your life or the life of a loved one. If a property owner fails to secure their premises, they may be liable for any death or bodily injury that takes place because of their negligence. If you or someone you love has been injured due to the negligence of a property owner, turn to the team at GOLDLAW today! We have the resources needed to handle the entirety of your claim, including negotiations with insurance companies and the personal injury trial process.

We want to help you secure the compensation you are entitled to. Call GOLDLAW at 561-222-2222 for a COMPLIMENTARY consultation to see if you have a case for monetary damages.