BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The sister of a man killed in the Idaho wilderness after he was suspected of kidnapping a teen girl and killing her mother and brother in California has filed a claim seeking $20 million from the FBI.
Lora DiMaggio Robinson’s lawyer, C. Keith Greer, says James DiMaggio never got a chance for a fair trial before he was shot by FBI agents two years ago.
Greer filed a claim with the FBI on Thursday and said he plans on filing a lawsuit in Idaho’s federal court next week.
“We need a lot more information,” Greer said. “We need to know why the officers felt like they were being targeted and to find out if they truly were in harm’s way.”
DiMaggio, 40, was killed Aug. 10, 2013, one week after authorities said he abducted 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and killed her relatives in Boulevard, California. Authorities have said DiMaggio set fire to his home using a timer to help give him and Anderson a head start.
The teen’s disappearance triggered a massive search spanning much of the western U.S. and parts of Canada and Mexico.
FBI agents rushed to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness near Cascade, Idaho, after four horseback riders reported spotting DiMaggio and Anderson. A law enforcement airplane later spotted their campsite, and rescue teams were dropped in by helicopter.
Agents believed they were being targeted by DiMaggio after he fired rifle shots as they closed in on the campsite. According to the autopsy report, DiMaggio was shot six times by two agents.
“The FBI agents’ unprivileged use of force therefore constitutes an assault and battery against DiMaggio, leading to DiMaggio’s wrongful death under Idaho law,” attorneys stated in the claim. “None of the agents present sought to intervene to prevent the excessive force, though able.”
The FBI agents’ actions were later deemed reasonable by U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, and they did not face criminal charges. At the time, Olson said she declined to prosecute the agents because the investigation couldn’t establish beyond a doubt that either agent purposefully violated the law while shooting at DiMaggio.
Robinson told The Associated Press after Olson’s decision that she wished her brother received the same consideration as the FBI agents who shot him.
Greer says the agents’ actions need to be re-evaluated. He added that by filing a civil lawsuit, they bypass having to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt.