Dollar Tree Agrees to Pay Previously Denied Benefits in Hate Crime Death

'Miscarriage of Justice'

The basis for the denial was "ridiculous," said Edgar Romano, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group. "It's a completely implausible reason to deny benefits."

Romano, an attorney in New York City, said that even though workers compensation law varies by state, the common thread is that a death on the job is compensable.

The denial of Talley's benefits, he said, moves away from that foundation.

Talley, 26, was the middle of Frazier's three daughters.

"She was the independent daughter," Frazier said, "the daughter who kept the family together."

Frazier said Talley went into work on the morning of March 29, as she often did to help get the store open in the morning. A short time later, Talley's cousin who worked down the road noticed police surrounding the store.

When the cousin went over to investigate she saw that Talley had been attacked and immediately summoned friends and family.

"She struggled ... to the back to the office and they called the ambulance," Frazier said.

By the time Frazier made it to the hospital Talley was dead from a stab wound to the heart.

Going to Court

Frazier, stunned by the death of her daughter, set about winning custody of then-8-year-old Larry, fighting his father along the way. Then she started the process to collect Talley's death benefits to use for Larry's college education.

The quest has dragged on for more than two years. After filling out mounds of paperwork and finally being able to prove to the workers compensation board that she was Larry's guardian and, therefore, eligible to receive Talley's death benefits, a judge suggested she get a lawyer -- her claim had been denied.

Frazier said Larry, now in sixth grade, asks about his mother "all the time." He loves sports and runs track, but also has an interest in business and math.

"He's a good little kid," Frazier said.

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