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Monday, July 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Rejects Appeal of Shooting Victim’s Parents

(CN) - Parents of a girl who died in a mall shooting rampage in Utah can't appeal the conviction and sentencing of the man who sold the handgun used to fatally shoot five people and wound four others, a federal appeals court in Denver ruled.

Sue and Ken Antrobus, parents of victim Vanessa Quinn, took Mackenzie Glade Hunter to court for selling a handgun and ammunition to 17-year-old Sulejman Talovic. On Feb. 12, 2007, Talovic opened fire at the Trolley Square Shopping Center in Salt Lake City, killing one person outside the mall and four others inside. His rampage ended when an off-duty police officer shot and killed him.

Hunter pleaded guilty to being a drug user in possession of a firearm, and the government agreed to drop his second charge of unlawfully transferring a firearm to a minor if he took full responsibility for his actions. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

The Antrobuses urged the court to declare their daughter a victim under the Crime Victims' Rights Act, which would've given them the right to make a victim-impact statement and receive restitution.

However, the district court denied the motion, reasoning that Quinn was not a victim of Hunter's crime under the Act. The parents then appealed Hunter's conviction and sentencing as too lenient.

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit dismissed the appeal on procedural grounds.

"We hold that individuals claiming to be victims under the CVRA may not appeal from the alleged denial of their rights under that statute except through a petition for writ of mandamus," Judge Tacha wrote.

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