Imette St. Guillen's Family Settles Federal Lawsuit
By DNAinfo Staff on March 25, 2011 7:13am |
By Janon Fisher
Special to DNAinfo
MANHATTAN — The family of Imette St. Guillen, the graduate student abducted and killed in 2006 by a bouncer at a SoHo bar, has settled its lawsuit with the federal government for a fraction of the $100 million that they had originally asked for.
St. Guillen’s estate sued in 2008, claiming federal authorities failed to keep tabs on Darryl Littlejohn, a violent ex-con who was supposed to be on supervised release. Manhattan Surrogate Court records show her family agreed to accept a settlement of $130,000 — half of which will go to her lawyer.
Lawyer Scott Epstein of the firm Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, whose firm received $63,148.77 for three years of work on the case, did not respond to calls seeking comment. A spokesman for the St. Guillen family also did not return multiple calls seeking comment.
Littlejohn, 44, a bouncer with a long rap sheet and an array of aliases including "Jonathan Blaze," worked at the now-defunct Falls bar at 218 Lafayette Street when the John Jay College of Criminal Justice student Imette St. Guillen came in for a drink with her friends on Feb. 25, 2006.
Littlejohn, whose criminal record was supposed to make him ineligible to work as a bouncer in New York City, abducted St. Guillen from the bar, killed her and dumped her naked, mutilated body on a gravel service road off the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn.
It took a jury less than seven hours to find him guilty of the brutal murder in 2009.
Littlejohn was also convicted in 2009 of posing as a law enforcement officer to abduct a female student in Queens, but that victim escaped by leaping out of his van.
Littlejohn was supposed to be on supervised release at the time of the murder, following a three and a half year federal prison stint for a 2000 bank robbery.
The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System, which is run by the U.S. District Court, was supposed to make regular visits to Littlejohn’s home and work, as well as make regular phone calls to the check up on the offender.
That never happened, according to the lawsuit.
Tony Garoppolo, the Federal Chief of Probation for the Eastern District of New York, is quoted in court papers admitting that his office, "Had no contact with him since 2000 when we did our pre-sentence report. It was human error on our part...and we are reforming the system to make this less likely to happen in the future."
Last year the Daily News reported that new software for tracking post-release offenders would be named after St. Guillen.
St. Guillen’s mother Maureen had promised to use the money to establish a foundation — The Spirit of Imette — in her daughter's memory.
The murdered student’s family also sued the owners of The Falls bar in 2008, for negligent hiring. Bar owners Michael and Daniel Dorian settled that lawsuit in October 2008 for $375,000 — all but $75,000 paid by their insurance company, according to legal documents.
Dorian's family runs the Upper East Side Bar Dorrian's Red Hand, where so-called "preppy killer" Robert Chambers met a woman he later murdered.