DuBose parents seek more of settlement money

Posted at 12:56 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 20:30:41-04

CINCINNATI – A judge was hearing testimony from family members of Samuel DuBose Wednesday during a probate hearing to determine how family members will split up a $5.3 million settlement.

DuBose, 43, was shot and killed by Ray Tensing, who was then a University of Cincinnati police officer, July 19, 2015.

In January, DuBose’s family agreed to a settlement with the University of Cincinnati for $4.85 million and free tuition for his children. Nearly two-dozen people have filed claims on the estate, including DuBose’s parents, children and other relatives.

The settlement calls for DuBose’s mother, Audrey, to receive 5 percent of the money. She wants to double that to 10 percent. Her attorney, Lindsay Lawrence, said Audrey DuBose "will continue to endure" grief, pain, suffering and mental anguish because of the way her son died.

"Miss Audrey is a mother who has witnessed her son being fatally shot by a police officer," Lawrence said. "She wasn't just told that her son was shot -- she actually had to witness the progression of events played out on videotape."

Also, DuBose’s father, Sam Johnson, wants more than the 1 percent listed for him in the settlement. He said he believed he should receive a larger portion because they were close.

"I just think it should be equal, because I was in my son's life," he said. "But I'm not asking for $500,000."

DuBose’s 13 children – including one adopted child – would divide the remaining amount.

This was not the first dispute in DuBose’s estate. Even before the settlement with UC, his parents disagreed over who should control his estate. In November, a judge appointed DuBose’s 18-year-old daughter as the administrator.

In court Wednesday, DuBose’s aunt, Rosalyn Christian, said she didn’t like seeing the family fight over the estate.

"For us to be in here fighting about some money is ludicrous," she said.

DuBose family attorney Mark O'Mara said it was "where you see good people at their worst."

"The problem with it in probate court is, you're trying to deal with an enormous amount of grief and the only real currency you have are the dollars, and that brings out the worst of circumstances and, therefore, the worst in people," he said.

In addition to the money and tuition, the family’s settlement with UC included an "appropriate memorial commemorating Samuel DuBose" on UC's campus, a formal apology issued by university president Santa Ono, and an invitation for the DuBose family to take part in UCPD's Community Action Council to help aid campus police reform.

Tensing, the ex-officer, was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He’s also facing a federal civil suit from DuBose’s family members.