HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit involving the estate of a Florida man who traveled to Montana and attempted to shoot to death a woman he believed was interfering with her genius daughter’s ability to attain her full potential.
The terms of the settlement in the civil lawsuit between Georgia Smith, her daughter Promethea Pythaitha, and the estate of Thomas Kyros were not disclosed. Kyros died shortly after shooting Smith when he pointed his gun at police, who opened fire.
The tentative deal is contingent upon approval by a Florida probate court, with that hearing set for Jan. 3. It will then go before a U.S. District judge in Helena.
Smith and Pythaitha sued for physical, emotional and punitive damages after the 81-year-old Kyros arrived at Smith’s Livingston home on Jan. 17, 2011, and shot her five times. The shooting paralyzed one of Smith’s arms, left her with bullet wounds in both legs, and doctors had to remove a third of her lower intestine.
Pythaitha, 19 at the time of the shooting, at age 13 became the youngest person to graduate from Montana State University. Authorities said Kyros became obsessed with Pythaitha after she gained notoriety among the Greek community in the U.S. for her academic achievements. He believed that Smith was holding her daughter back and he insisted that she leave home and attend an Ivy League college instead of Montana State.
The mother and daughter accepted $9,000 from Kyros in 2007 after they were involved in a car accident. But he began badgering them and told Pythaitha to call him grandfather. Pythaitha eventually asked him by email to stop harassing her, but Kyros accused Smith of brainwashing the girl and traveled to Montana, ignoring a no-stalking order and gunning down Smith in her driveway.
According the lawsuit, Pythaitha covered her mother’s body with her own to prevent Kyros from continuing to shoot her mother. Kyros tossed her a satchel with $720 cash and a document naming her as the beneficiary of a trust fund, then got into his vehicle to leave when law enforcement officers arrived.
Kyros turned and pointed the gun at the deputies and they opened fire, killing him, according to testimony at a 2011 inquest.
Kyros’ attorney acknowledges Kyros’ estate is liable for battery against Smith, but says the Florida retiree was insane when he shot Smith.
U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ordered settlement talks in April because the damages claimed would exceed what Kyros’ estate is worth, and because the estate is shrinking due to attorney fees in the continuing case.
Tentative deal reached in fatal obsession case
November 24, 2012
San Francisco Chronicle