Relatives of an elderly Maryland murder victim may not tap the nearly $1 million trust fund of one of her convicted killers, the state’s highest court has ruled. The Baltimore Sun said the court held that a trust fund to benefit James Calvert McGee, does not have to pay a $600,000 judgment to the family of victim Katherine Huntt Ryon.
The judgment, a 2001 settlement in a wrongful death suit, is a debt like any other, the court said in a 6-1 ruling. McGee, 49, was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery in Ryon’s death. He is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.
A ruling in favor of the victim’s family would have had broad policy implications because it would have created an avenue enabling crime victims to collect damages under rare circumstances.
Dissenting Judge Lynne A. Battaglia, a former prosecutor, wrote tat public policy should not allow the beneficiary of a trust to enjoy income from it while he has not paid what is owed to people he has wronged.