$150 million judgment entered in Westside case

Published: Aug. 14, 2017 at 11:19 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2017 at 8:41 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Craighead County Circuit Judge on Monday entered a judgment for $150 million against the two shooters in the 1998 Westside school shootings, an attorney for the victim's families said.

The order was entered by Circuit Judge John Fogleman against Andrew Golden, also known as Drew Grant, and Mitchell Johnson in the March 1998 shootings in which teacher Shannon Wright and students Natalie Brooks, Paige Herring, Stephanie Johnson and Brittney Varner were killed.

In a statement, Bobby McDaniel said he worked on behalf of the families for nearly two decades to seek justice in the case.

"The wrongful death suit that resulted in today's judgment was filed in 1998, but due to the defendants' age, incarceration, name changes and leaving the state, it took until today for the families of those who died to tell the court what this act of evil has done to impact their lives," McDaniel said.

In the order, each family was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages against Mitchell Johnson while each family was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages against Golden, also known as Grant.

McDaniel also said the order would prohibit both Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden, also known as Grant, from profiting from the shooting.

"If either of them tries to sell their story for a book or movie deal, or wins the lottery, this judgment means they can't get rich without paying these families first," McDaniel said.

In a statement, Pam Herring, whose daughter, Paige, was killed, said the family hopes something can be learned from the tragedy.

"This effort was never about any money for us. We had to honor our loved ones and tell the court how much it hurt to have them taken from us, even all these years later. We also hope something can be learned from their depositions which may help prevent a similar incident in the future," Herring said. "We all appreciate the support from the Jonesboro community and from around the country."

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