Judge tosses judgment in Springfield man’s death (MO)

This is one of those cases in which you really have to wonder about the back channel activities leading to a judge voiding a seemingly legitimate (and not seemingly excessive) jury assessed judgment in the murder of this probate attorney:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The ex-wife of a prominent southwest Missouri attorney and book collector will not have to pay a judgment assessed against her after a jury in a civil lawsuit found that she was likely responsible for the man’s death.

Although no one has been charged in Rolland Comstock’s July 2007 shooting death, his daughter filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that her mother, Alberta Comstock, was responsible for the death. In July, a Greene County jury found Alberta Comstock liable and ordered her to pay a $125,000 judgment to the daughter and Comstock’s other survivors.

But on Wednesday, Greene County Circuit Judge Michael Cordonnier voided the judgment. He sided with Alberta Comstock’s attorney, who had argued the jury’s verdict was “so inconsistent as to be self-destructive,” The Springfield News-Leader reported (http://bit.ly/ppZ4OB ).

Comstock, 70, a book collector and attorney who handled tax and probate cases in Springfield for more than 40 years, was shot to death in his home on July 3, 2007.

His daughter, Faith Stocker, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her mother — who was living in Oklahoma after a contentious divorce — alleging that her mother, acting alone or with a co-conspirator, killed her father.

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Judge tosses judgment in Springfield man’s death
August 26, 2011
Houston Chronicle