WHITE PINE (WATE) – The family of an 8-year-old Jefferson County girl has filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against the family of an 11-year-old boy convicted of shooting and killing her.
In the suit filed Monday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, MaKayla Dyer’s mother Latasha said Jason and Mary Ann Tiller had a duty to supervise their son Benjamin and keeping him from harming others with firearms. The suit alleges the Tillers were negligent by allowing Benjamin access to the gun.
MaKayla Dyer, a student at White Pine Elementary, was killed October 3, 2015, outside her home. Juvenile Judge Dennis “Will” Roach II, who presided over Tiller’s case, wrote in a court order that he was playing with MaKayla, her 11-year-old sister and her friend when he asked her to retrieve her puppies. After she said no, he went inside and came back with a 12 gauge shotgun and a BB gun, telling the girls he had guns.
“The victim then laughed at Mr. Tiller, and stated that she believed they were not real,” read the court documents. “Tiller then made certain the gun was loaded, cocked the hammer of the gun, and shot the victim just above the heart” from inside the window.
MaKayla fell backwards and was later confirmed dead. Benjamin Tiller was sentenced to state custody until his 19th birthday.
Her mother is seeking $5 million for medical expenses, funeral expenses, the value of her life, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. She is also seeking $5 million in punitive damages against the Tillers “for their willful, wanton, grossly negligent conduct allowing Benjamin Tiller… access to a loaded firearm without supervision.”