Debt Led to Vineyard Killing, Widow Says

     NAPA, Calif. (CN) – A California winery owner lured a man to his vineyard, where he shot him to death and then killed himself, a family claims in a lawsuit against the man’s estate.
     Adel Tawfilis and her two children sued the Estate of Robert Dahl, his widow Janelle Dahl, and Napa Point Winery on May 14 in Napa County Court.
     Dahl asked Emad Tawfilis to his vineyard to try to clear up litigation involving a dispute over a $1.2 million promissory note, but actually to kill him, Tawfilis’ widow claims in the lawsuit.
     The Tawfilis’ attorney George Lee told Courthouse News he did not know what the promissory note was for. He said Tawfilis’s attorney in that dispute was David Wiseblood, in San Francisco, but he did not know who Rahl’s attorney was.
     Once the men were in the vineyard on the morning of March 16 they got their attorneys on the phone to discuss a settlement, according to the complaint.
     During the conversation, Dahl backtracked on the terms of settlement, under which he was to give Tawfilis property to resolve the litigation, according to the lawsuit. Dahl’s attorney then allegedly said he needed to speak privately with Dahl.
     After the calls ended, what followed “can only be described as an unimaginable nightmare for Emad Tawfilis and that ultimately ended in his tortuous and untimely death at the hands of Dahl,” the widow says in the lawsuit.
     She claims that Dahl shot her husband in the chest, upon which Tawfilis fled the winery and called police, screaming for help, with Dahl chasing him in his truck.
     Dahl caught up to Tawfilis and fatally shot him in the head as Napa County Sheriff’s deputies closed in, the widow says.
     After a high-speed chase, deputies found Dahl in his car, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the lawsuit.
     The defendants could not be reached for comment.
     The family seeks damages and punitive damages for wrongful death and negligence.
     Their attorney Lee is with Seiler Epstein in San Francisco.

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