The mother of an 8-year-old girl who was shot to death by an 11-year-old boy has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the parents of the child who pulled the trigger.
MaKayla Dyer’s mother, Latasha, filed the wrongful death suit in Tennessee’s Jefferson County Circuit Court on Monday, accusing Benjamin Tiller’s family of “gross negligence” in allowing the child to have access to the loaded shotgun used to kill MaKayla.
Benjamin was convicted of first-degree murder in February and was ordered to remain in state custody until his 19th birthday.
The elementary school girl was playing outside her mobile home last year with a friend and her 11-year-old sister in the small town of White Pine when the boy asked her to go get her new puppies, the judge who presided over his case wrote in a court order, WJHL-TV reported.
When she said no, the boy went inside his family’s trailer and fetched a 12-gauge shotgun, the judge wrote. “Tiller then made certain the gun was loaded, cocked the hammer of the gun, and shot the victim just above the heart,” from a window in his home, the court order said.
MaKayla fell backward, and died in the arms of her mother, who came running after she heard the shot, authorities said.
The suit seeks $5 million for the child’s death, medical and funeral expenses and other compensatory damages. The complaint asks for an additional $5 million in punitive damages for “grossly negligent conduct allowing Benjamin Teller, an 11-year-old, access to a loaded firearm without supervision.”
The Tillers were watching a football game at the time of the shooting, authorities said.
Efforts to reach the couple, who now live in Virginia, were not successful. There is no public phone listing for their names.