The Virginia Supreme Court overturned the jury verdict in a wrongful-death suit against the state in favor of the families of two students slain in the April 16, 2007, massacre at Virginia Tech, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Julia Pryde and Erin Peterson were among 32 students and faculty members killed by student Seung-Hui Cho in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Last year, a jury awarded each family $4 million, reduced to $100,000 each by a state cap on damages.
The justices agreed that there was no duty for state officials to warn students about the potential for criminal acts by third parties. Most families of slain students accepted shares of an $11 million state settlement. Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said the university is “very pleased that the Supreme Court recognized and corrected the errors of the lower court which resulted in a faulty jury verdict.” Brian Gottstein of the Virginia Attorney General's Office, said, “the Virginia Supreme Court has found what we have said all along to be true: The commonwealth and its officials at Virginia Tech were not negligent on April 16, 2007. Cho was the lone person responsible for this tragedy.”