RALEIGH, N.C. (CN) – A man whose parents and nephew were murdered claims he lost his job and his reputation because Da Capo Press defamed him in Kathryn Eastburn’s book, “Simon Says: A True Story of Boys, Guns and Murder.” Ty Dutcher claims the book states he has “racked up convictions for drugs, robbery and uncounted numbers of traffic offenses,” though he has never been convicted of robbery or drug offenses.
Dutcher also sued the Perseus Book Group. The book was published “on or about December 2007.” He says he notified the defendants on the errors on Feb. 25 this year, but they continue to market and sell it without corrections.
He claims that defendants’ attorney wrote to him on Sept. 25, “We concede that we have not located convictions for robbery and drugs in the jurisdictions we have searched.”
The complaint in Wake County Court states: “The book recounts the brutal and unprovoked murders of Carl, Joanna and Tony Dutcher. Carl and Joanna Dutcher were plaintiff’s parents, and Tony Dutcher was plaintiff’s nephew. The murders were perpetrated by Isaac Grimes, Jon Matheny and Simon Sue on New Year’s Day in 2001. Grimes, Matheny and Sue were all convicted. Plaintiff, who was then living in Georgia, was never a suspect or a person of interest in the murders.”
In addition to the allegedly libelous drug and robbery accusations, Dutcher says the book claims he “spent enough time in jail to make law enforcement officials like (Sheriff) Wegener well aware of his presence whenever he came west for a visit,” and that he “introduced himself [to the sheriff’s office] as a reformed drug addict.”
Dutcher says he has never been imprisoned and he never introduced himself to the sheriff as a reformed drug addict.
He claims that “Da Capo and Perseus never contacted plaintiff to verify if any of the allegations contained in the book were true or performed any due diligence to fact-check the allegations made by Eastburn regarding plaintiff.”
He claims he “lost his employment as a surveyor because of false allegations contained in the book” and that he and his family have been “ostracized in their neighborhood because their neighbors and friends have read the false statements in the book.”
Dutcher demands punitive damages. He is represented by John Austin.