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News

Dorner Carjacking Victim Filing Lawsuit to Claim Full $1M Reward

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Richard Heltebrake in Big Bear (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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The $1 million reward being offered for information received that led authorities to located former fugitive cop Christopher Dorner has been mired in controversy basically since it was announced. Now the attorney for the man carjacked by Dorner during his final hours says his client is filing a lawsuit seeking the entire reward.

Rick Heltebrake encountered alleged killer on the run Dorner when the onetime LAPD approached Heltebrake at gunpoint and demanded he turn over his Dodge Ram truck.

Heltebrake followed Dorner's directions and jumped out of the car and took his dog with him. Later Heltebrake called 9-1-1 from his cell phone, and not too long afterward San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies found Dorner hiding in a nearby cabin.

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Handout picture of Christopher Dorner provided by Los Angeles Police Department (Photo by LAPD via Getty Images)
When it comes to the reward, because Dorner wasn't captured and prosecuted, but rather took his own life while the cabin in which he was hiding smoldered to the ground following the authorities' use of incendiary devices, many groups have since withdrawn their pledges to the reward fund.Although Dorner was located in Big Bear and the shootout that ended his life was handled by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the City of L.A. has taken the lead on wrangling the reward fund.

Friday, April 19 was the deadline for applicants to file for consideration for the reward or a portion thereof. The plan is to have a panel of three retired judges to assess the claims over a majority of the reward money, as orchestrated by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

However, "Alan Thomas, the attorney for Heltebrake, said they believe the proposed three-judge panel and procedures violate his rights and he would be seeking the full amount," according to the Daily Bulletin. Thomas "noted the process does not allow Heltebrake to present evidence or question witnesses and the proceedings would be private."

Thomas says the reward process leaves him and his client "no choice" but to pursue the matter in court, remarking in a written statement that Beck and Villaraigosa "arbitrarily and capriciously established an unfair, one-sided process that ignores Heltebrake's fundamental, due process rights."

This is the second time Thomas has announced a lawsuit on behalf of Heltebrake for the full reward amount.

The LAPD says eight people filed for the reward. The City of L.A.'s portion of the reward fund is just $100,000.

Related
Group Withdraws $50K Pledge to Dorner Reward Fund
Riverside Revokes $100,000 Dorner Reward Pledge
Dorner Reward Donors Now Don't Want to Give Their Money