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Sister Of Alleged Kidnapper And Murderer Sues The FBI For Killing Him
The sister of James DiMaggio, who allegedly murdered two people and kidnapped a teenage girl, has filed a claim against the FBI, claiming they were wrong to have shot and killed her brother at the end of a massive manhunt. There have been a lot of wrongful death suits filed against cities and police lately. In most of these cases, the victims were unarmed. In the case of James DiMaggio, he was not only armed, but had allegedly kidnapped 16-year-old Hannah Anderson after murdering her mother and young brother. He even fired a gun in the moments before his death, but his sister, Lora DiMaggio Robinson, said he wasn't firing at the FBI, just firing his gun into the air to call for help. She's suing the FBI for $20 million, NBC 7 reports, claiming that the FBI "stalked" and "executed" her brother, according to Fox 5. Prosecutors found the shooting of DiMaggio justified in May 2014 and declined to press any charges against the agents who were involved in his death.
Robinson's lawyer, C Keith Greer, told NBC that, "Robinson knows that her brother was a very kind man, certainly not one to shoot at an FBI agent. So from the beginning she just felt like there was something that was being misportrayed about her brother." Greer called DiMaggio's death "unduly, excessive, prejudicial and unjustified." He said the lawsuit isn't about the money, but closure for Robinson.
Greer also has questions for Hannah, and both she and her father are included in the witnesses that would be deposed in court. Greer said that if the claim is rejected, a suit will be filed in Idaho federal court, according to the L.A. Times.
The case was a bizarre one. On August 4, 2013, authorities found the bodies of Christine Anderson, her 8-year-old son Ethan and the Anderson family's dog in the charred remains of DiMaggio's home in Boulevard, Calif. Investigators believe DiMaggio bludgeoned Christine, shot the dog, then used a timer to set his house on fire, giving him a headstart. Ethan's cause of death was determined to be the fire. At the time, Brett Anderson, Christine's husband, was away on a business trip, and their daughter, 16-year-old Hannah Anderson, was nowhere to be found. An Amber Alert went out for Hannah, who was last seen at her high school in National City, attending cheerleading practice.
A week later, Anderson and DiMaggio were located in the woods in Cascade, Idaho after two witnesses reported seeing them. Hannah later said that DiMaggio had picked her up from school, then later drugged her, causing her to be out during the drive from San Diego to Idaho. Investigators later said that she did not know he'd killed her mother and brother until after her rescue. She said he'd told her he'd locked them in the garage of his home and set up a timer to start his house on fire, but that he had left signs on the garage that would ensure this rescue. Though they encountered horseback riders and hikers in the woods—who would later report the sighting to the police—she also said that he told her that if she ever tried to escape he'd kill her, and that if anyone else tried to help her, he'd kill them too. She said DiMaggio slept with his gun beside him and that she was too afraid to try to grab it or make a run for it.
FBI agents following the tip from the hikers and horseback riders tracked down DiMaggio's camping site and at about 5 p.m. on August 10, police say DiMaggio fired off a shot into the air. The agents opened fire, hitting and killing DiMaggio. Anderson was rescued, unharmed.
Anderson recounted this moment in an interview on the TODAY Show, a quote that's mentioned in Robinson's suit: "[DiMaggio] was trying to start a fire to signal for help. Then all of a sudden the fire wasn't working. So I told him, I said, well, I read in book that if you fire a gun in the air three times that means SOS, so he went to fire it once and I was watching him and then he fired it the second time but he, like, lowered it and then a bunch of guns went off."
DiMaggio was close friends with Brett Anderson and considered himself the children's uncle. Hannah, however, said had begun started saying inappropriate things to her, like mentioning he'd like to date her if she were older and chastising her for not paying enough attention to him. The two also exchanged letters that were found in DiMaggio's home and texts on the day she was kidnapped. Hannah said those texts were about arranging him picking her up from cheerleading practice.
The DiMaggio family has previous made a lot of accusations about Hannah. Members of DiMaggio's family once tried to insinuate that Hannah may have gone willingly with DiMaggio, or that DiMaggio may actually have been Hannah's father. They asked for a paternity test, but later withdrew the request. Robinson also previously told interviewers that she had warned her brother about Hannah and that her brother may have just been trying to protect the girl. She also said she found Hannah was suspicious because she didn't say thank you and wore "heavy high makeup."
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said that Hannah was definitely taken "against her will" and was "a victim in every sense of the word."
Weirder yet, a woman who did not want to be identified came forward and said that DiMaggio's father had been similarly obsessed with her when she was only 16 and he was 35.
The TODAY Show interview where Hannah Anderson tells her story can be viewed below: