PHOENIX (CN) - A widow blames the Arizona Department of Public Safety for her husband's murder because it put him in a Highway Patrol van to work as a private radar tech - not as a police officer - and he was shot to death inside it. Co-defendant Thomas Destories was charged with first-degree murder and is to go to trial in July.
Jean Georgianni says the State of Arizona put her late husband, Doug, in the DPS van despite knowing of "the danger to occupants of the photo radar vehicles."
Doug Georgianni was working for Redflex Traffic Systems when he was shot to death by Thomas P. Destories on April 19, 2009 as he worked in the DPS-owned photo radar van, his widow says.
Destories allegedly pulled up in a Chevy Suburban next to the van "and fired several shots into the vehicle with a high caliber handgun," striking Georgianni three times.
His widow, father and mother claim that the Arizona and DPS "had knowledge prior to Doug's death of opposition to photo radar physical actions taken by photo radar opponents to damage photo radar vehicles and equipment" and that as "a direct and proximate cause of the defendants' conduct, Doug's life was taken."
The state requires that the radar vans be operated by someone inside, the family says. They add, "Doug's vehicle was marked with DPS markings such that the general public would reasonably believe that the vehicle was owned and operated by the state and DPS, and the occupant was performing the duties of DPS, which include protecting public safety by enforcing traffic laws on Arizona's highways."
Destories was charged with first degree murder, drive-by shooting and discharging a firearm at a structure. His trial is set for July 12.
Georgianni's family seeks damages and costs for wrongful death and negligence. They are represented in Maricopa County Court by J. Tyrrell Taber and Robert C. Stultz.
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