Killer Sues Victim's Family

Conn. inmate claims mom and dad responsible for highway death of their son, 14.

ByABC News
November 15, 2010, 9:11 PM

BOSTON, Nov.16, 2010— -- It has been an agonizing three years for Stephen and Joanne Kenney, ever since their teenage son, Matthew, was struck and killed while riding his bike on a Connecticut roadway. Now the man who killed Matthew is suing the Kenneys for negligence; from his jail cell.

"What this does is re-victimize them, it suggests that somehow the victim and his parents contributed to his own death," said Michelle Cruz, a Connecticut state victim advocate.

Prosecutors alleged that David Weaving was driving more than 80 miles an hour in Waterbury April 27, 2007, when he struck and killed Matthew Kenney, 14, according to court documents. Weaving had a history of driving violations, including four convictions for drunk driving.

In this case, he was convicted of manslaughter and is serving a 10-year sentence.

After his conviction, the Kenneys sued Weaving and the Connecticut Department of Motor vehicles for negligence, alleging that Weaving's license should have been revoked because of his repeated drunk driving convictions. The state DMV is fighting the case.

From behind bars, Weaving responded with a countersuit alleging that the Kenneys allowed their son to ride his bike without a helmet, which contributed to his death. The lawsuit stated that the Kenneys did not "comply with the responsibilities of a parent or guardian and the laws of this state."

Such a counterclaim serves as an "emotional slap in the face" to a victim, advocate Cruz said.

She admitted, however, that victims who sue leave themselves open to counterclaims such as the one Weaving has filed.

And that's the way it should be, said Andrew Cates, an attorney appointed by Connecticut to argue Weaving's separate appeal in the manslaughter case. "What would people have him do? If they are going to take him into court, he has the right to defend himself," Cates said.

"I don't think the balance is tipped in the favor of David Weaving. He has very limited resources, he has to be his own lawyer ? it's very, very difficult."