Teen’s parents aim lawsuit at drug, alcohol sources

Thu, 02/01/2007 - 3:55pm
By: John Munford

Son was shot to death at party fueled by beer, marijuana

The parents of a Peachtree City teen who was shot and killed at a party in June have not only sued the accused shooter and the party host, but they also want to hold accountable whomever provided the drugs and alcohol at the party — and whomever provided the gun to Kevin Johnston, 17, of Sharpsburg.

Dallas Crenshaw Jr., 17, died June 20 and the suit names Johnston, who police have said fired the deadly shot, and Christopher Canderozzi, 18, who has pled no contest to charges stemming from the party that he hosted at his parents’ home on Constitution Circle in the Centennial subdivision.

The civil suit was filed Tuesday in Fayette County State Court by Crenshaw’s parents, Dallas Crenshaw Sr. and Anna Crenshaw. Their attorney, Brian Rogers, said he knows there’s little hope that the persons who provided the drugs and/or gun could ever be identified, but he’s hopeful the source of the alcohol can be determined.

The Crenshaws are interested in not only seeing justice for their son’s death, but also in discouraging the type of unsupervised alcohol and drug-fueled parties that police said occurred at the Canderozzi home that night, Rogers said. Because the alcohol, drug and gun sources are unknown at this time, they were named as defendants John Doe and ABC Corporation in the lawsuit.

Johnston, who police allege pulled the trigger on the gun, remains in the Fayette County Jail facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter. The trial is tentatively scheduled for March.

On Oct. 18 Canderozzi pled no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless conduct and possession of marijuana, and he was sentenced to 24 months probation and a $1,400 fine and requirements that he not consume alcohol nor possess a firearm.

Canderozzi’s probation was revoked Dec. 18 because he failed to get a court-required substance abuse evaluation and prove that he attended a moral reconation therapy (MRT) program, according to court records. Canderozzi spent 15 days in jail before a judge released him on requirements that he live with his parents.

Despite the probation violation, Canderozzi’s first offender status was left intact, meaning he remains eligible to have the offenses wiped off his record if he successfully completes all elements of his probation.

No other charges have been filed in the case, though that could change, Rogers said. If the civil case could lead to more information that would help the district attorney’s office file more criminal charges in the case, that info will be shared with the DA, Rogers said.

In civil cases, defendants can be compelled to testify or they face having the judgement entered in the plaintiff’s favor.

Although District Attorney Scott Ballard’s office reduced the initial murder charge against Johnston to involuntary manslaughter, indicating that there’s no evidence the shooting was intentional, Rogers explained. Rogers said it is not yet clear if Johnston was intoxicated at the time of the shooting.

“Police indicated they found empty beer cans and marijuana all over the house,” Rogers said.

Rogers said he wants to probe whether the shooting was intentional or not.

Crenshaw was shot in the stomach around 2 a.m. June 20 and died later while he was undergoing surgery to repair the wound. The suit claims that Johnston was negligent when handling the weapon, causing the wrongful death of Crenshaw. The suit is also seeking punitive damages in addition to damages for the full value of Crenshaw’s life.

The suit also alleges that Canderozzi is liable because he allowed alcohol and drugs to be consumed by minors at the party.

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Submitted by PTCitizen on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 10:25pm.

I hope they're naming Canderozzi's parents in the suit as well. On a different note; does it completely infuriate anyone else that the District Attorney's office will allow someone in a case like this to get off with a clear criminal record for completing the "First Offender" requirements. If you're going to use the program, then at least enforce it strictly. Violating probation is a violation of the First Offender Act, and his chance to complete the sentence as such should be revoked. He's already had his second chance, and third - that's plenty. How would you feel if Kevin Johnston could plea First Offender to manslaughter and get of unscathed after some time on probation? I agree they are not the same thing, but Canderozzi should not get off completely (in the long run) when something as serious as this happened.

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