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Widow of Slain IRS Agent Suing Joe Stack's Widow

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on February 25, 2010 2:45 PM

The widow of the Austin area IRS agent killed last week is suing the widow of the man who killed her husband.  

Valerie Hunter's husband, Vernon Hunter, was killed last week when angry Andrew Joseph Stack III flew his single engine airplane into a government building in Austin, Texas.  The crash left both Joe Stack and Vernon Hunter dead.

Valerie Hunter filed a wrongful death complaint in Travis County court earlier this week against Sheryl Mann Stack, claiming that Mrs. Stack had a duty to "avoid foreseeable risk of injury to others" and that Vernon Hunter was part of the protected class to whom Mrs. Stack owed this duty.

Joe Stack had allegedly been battling with the IRS for quite some time and authorities believe that the attack was deliberate. Prior to flying his plane into the building, Joe Stack set his house ablaze. He also left a rambling note on the Internet, blaming the IRS for his woes.  Some have gone so far as to even praise Joe Stack's homicidal critique of the IRS. More sane voices are calling for more attention to be given to Stack's victim and his family, who are now left suffering the loss of a family man. 

According to The Austin American Statesman, Hunter claims, in her wrongful death complaint, that she was entitled to damages from Mrs. Stack because she was negligent in protecting the life of Vernon Hunter.  Mrs. Hunter claims that Mrs. Stack was aware that her husband could be a threat, given that she had spent the night preceding the attack in a hotel with the couple's daughter. 

Mrs. Hunter's attorney said that his client is interested to know if she may be entitled to any of Mrs. Stack's insurance proceeds. Despite this inquiry, however, Hunter's attorney maintains that the lawsuit is largely for the purpose of obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order from having Vernon Hunter's autopsy report released to the public. According to their attorney, the Hunter family is concerned that gruesome details of Vernon Hunter's death may be made available to his children and grandchildren, whom the Restraining Order seeks to shield from this information. Hunter's attorney claims that the Restraining Order could not be filed without an ancillary law suit.   

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