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Family Sues Atlanta Transit in Teen's Killing

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By Jason Beahm on January 28, 2011 5:53 AM

A New Year's Eve slaying in downtown Atlanta continues to develop with shocking details. Tommy Christopher Collins, 36, confessed to the stabbing death of 14-year old Rueben Hand, police said.

The stabbing happened at an Atlanta train station at Atlanta's New Year's Peach Drop celebration. Hand was found with his throat slashed, the Associated Press reports.

Collins was arrested three days later at his apartment, largely due to surveillance video from the train station. He has been charged with murder, and two counts of aggravated assault and weapons possession, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Police say Collins "stated that people thought he was a monster and that he wanted to tell his side of the story. Collins stated he was robbed and that the victim stole his cell phone and his money. And then he also admitted to following the victims to the third gate, pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the hand and neck," said detective Lorenzo Whitestone.

The family of Rueben Hand now claims that an officer ignored Hand's desperate cries for assistance. The family filed a lawsuit alleging that officers did not intervene after Rueben Hand told them that a man was following and threatening him.

Wrongful death occurs when someone is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another. A wrongful death claim belongs to the decedent's immediate family members.

In order to successful win a wrongful death claim, Hand's family will have to prove that Hand's death was caused by the negligence of the police and that his death has caused monetary injury. Depending upon the facts of the case, it will be an interesting and complicated matter to determine what proportion of fault might belong to the police.

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