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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Woman Ineligible for Crime Stoppers Award

(CN) - A woman who helped catch a serial killer can't collect a $100,000 reward, because she gave her information to law enforcement officers instead of calling in to the Crime Stoppers tip line, a Louisiana appeals court ruled.

The Baton Rouge and Lafayette Crime Stoppers organizations established the reward in the spring of 2003 for information leading to the conviction of the South Louisiana Serial Killer, a suspect in several murders over the previous summer.

Dianne Alexander was attacked that summer, and her son, Herman, chased the attacker away. A police lieutenant thought the Alexanders' description of the assailant matched the killer, and he forwarded the description to the task force that was trying to stop the killer.

Alexander later identified her attacker in a police lineup and tried to collect the reward. Lafayette Crime Stoppers informed her that she was ineligible, so she and Herman sued for $150,000.

The trial court ruled for Crime Stoppers, because Alexander gave her information directly to law enforcement rather than through the Crime Stoppers telephone tip line.

Judge Marc Amy of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision, noting that the Alexanders also missed the Aug. 1, 2003, deadline to claim the reward.

"While the plaintiffs may have provided information relating to the arrest or indictment of (the suspect) to local law enforcement and the task force, there is no indication that either of those parties were the offerors of the reward or persons authorized to receive acceptance on their behalf," Amy ruled.

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