(CN) - A Mississippi man whose brother was murdered after being accused of stealing scrap metal waited too long to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the state appeals court ruled.
Cedric Sharkey was shot to death on Jan. 7, 2012. Barry Ware, Frank Barber and his brother Steven Barber had claimed Sharkey had stolen a piece of scrap metal.
When the three men demanded Sharkey come with them to the police station, he sped away in his car.
The Barber brothers and Ware pursued Sharkey in a truck until the pursued man lost control of his car and crashed into a tree.
Sharkey ran through the woods, with Ware and the Barbers following him. Ware pulled out a gun and shot Sharkey several times.
All three men were arrested that day. Ware and Frank Barber were indicted for murder, and Frank pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder.
Chris Sharkey, as administrator of his brother's estate, sued Frank Barber for wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.
Barber filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that it was time-barred because it was filed 18 months after Cedric Sharkey's death.
Chris argued that Frank had hidden his role in Cedric's death until his guilty plea in September 2014, which was two months after Chris filed his lawsuit.
Chris also asserted that he did not know of Frank's role in his brother's death when it happened.
The trial court ruled in Frank's favor, noting that he was arrested on the day of the murder and that the one-year statute of limitations began that day and had expired.
Chris appealed, but the Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld the verdict on Feb. 16, in an opinion written by Judge David Ishee.
"Frank never denied being part of the group that chased Cedric," he wrote. "Nor did he deny being there when Cedric was shot. Rather, Frank simply disagreed that his actions rose to the level of murder."Frank was arrested for taking part in Cedric's death the very day he died," Ishee added. "And he and Barry were indicted for murder a month later, in February 2012. So at the very latest, Chris' claims against Frank were discoverable by this time."
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