(CN) – A pawn shop might be liable for selling a gun to a convicted felon who shot his 8-year-old son, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled.
Russell Graham went to the Baxter Springs Pawn & Gun Shop with this 77-year-old grandmother, Imogene Glass. Glass filled out the paperwork to purchase a 12-gauge shotgun. Graham, a convicted felon, was not eligible to buy the gun, but he handed the money to the clerk.
Later that day, Graham used the gun to kill his son, Zeus, before turning the weapon on himself.
Elizabeth Shirley, Zeus’s mother, sued Glass, the pawn shop and its owners, but lost in the trial court.
She then appealed her case against the pawn shop.
Shirley testified that Graham had beaten her several times during their marriage and had threatened Zeus’s life in an attempt to force Shirley to come back to him.
Graham’s felony conviction was for rape, a crime for which he spent six years in prison.
Glass said she never witnessed Graham act violently toward anyone. Joe George, the owner of the pawn shop, said Glass had bought the gun as a gift so her great-grandsons could go dove hunting.
The appeals court affirmed dismissal of most of Shirley’s claims, but said she could take her negligent entrustment claim to trial.
“Based on Glass’ testimony, a reasonable inference could be drawn that the appellees knew that Russell was the actual purchaser of the shotgun,” Judge Henry Green, Jr. wrote.