- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 1, 2006

BOWLING GREEN, Va. (AP) — A lawyer and cattleman who killed a trespassing neighbor is suing the man’s widow for $1.3 million, saying she conspired with her husband to retrieve a bull that had wandered onto the plaintiff’s property.

John F. Ames, who testified in his trial that he shot Perry Brooks in self-defense as the man came at him with a stick, was acquitted by a Caroline County Circuit Court jury in the fall.

The two had been feuding since 1989, when Mr. Ames used a 17th-century law to successfully sue Mr. Brooks and other neighbors to force them to share the cost of fencing Mr. Ames’ 670-acre Holly Hill Farm.

Mr. Ames, then 60, shot his 74-year-old neighbor on April 19, 2004.

Evelyn Brooks learned about the $1.3 million lawsuit when she was served court papers earlier this month.

“She was horrified,” said her attorney, William J. Pfund, who filed papers on his client’s behalf seeking $50,000 from Mr. Ames as a sanction for having to defend a lawsuit that he stated was filed “for the purpose of harassing” her.

Mrs. Brooks denied conspiring to retrieve the bull or inflicting severe emotional distress on Mr. Ames, as the lawsuit claims.

“I’m not that type of person,” she said. “I think everybody in this community knows me and knows what kind of person I am.”

Mr. Ames’ attorney, L.F. Tyler III, declined to comment.

In his lawsuit, Mr. Ames says Mrs. Brooks knew her husband was barred from Holly Hill Farm, was aware of his propensity for violence and acted as an accessory before the fact.

“Evelyn and others acted with intentional, reckless, outrageous, intolerable, offensive conduct and conduct that offended the generally accepted standards of moral decency,” the lawsuit states.

Mr. Ames has filed similar lawsuits against two men who accompanied Mr. Brooks the morning of the shooting — Michael E. Beazley and Paul J. Orlett — and against the Brookses’ son-in-law, Matthew Coleman, who had sought to arrange to pick up the bull.

A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for June 23.

Also on that day, a judge is to consider several pending lawsuits dating to 1989, including a $45,000 lien Mr. Ames placed on the Brookses’ property because they had not paid their share of the fence and an $8 million lawsuit for a 1989 incident in which Mr. Brooks fired a shotgun in Mr. Ames’ direction.

Mrs. Brooks has asked the court to dismiss those lawsuits and said she would drop a $2 million lawsuit her late husband had filed after his scuffling with one of Mr. Ames’ security guards in 1989.

In December, Mrs. Brooks and her two daughters settled a $10 million wrongful-death lawsuit against Mr. Ames for $100,000.


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