- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A federal judge has ordered discredited former Douglas County crime scene investigator David Kofoed to pay about $6.6 million to two men he is accused of framing for a double murder they didn’t commit.

U.S. Judge Joseph Bataillon issued the orders late Monday, entering a judgment of $1.7 million plus interest to compensate Matthew Livers for lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Livers also was awarded $1.65 million in punitive damages, and the judge ordered Kofoed to pay nearly $1 million in Livers‘ attorneys’ fees.

A separate order awarded nearly $1.1 million plus interest to compensate Nicholas Sampson as well as $965,000 in punitive damages. Kofoed was ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in Sampson’s attorneys’ fees.

Livers and Sampson initially were charged in the 2006 shotgun slayings of Wayne and Sharmon Stock in their rural southeast Nebraska farmhouse near Murdock. The men spent months in jail before being cleared of murder charges. Two Wisconsin residents - Jessica Reid and Gregory Fester II - were eventually convicted and sentenced.

Livers and Sampson sued the Nebraska State Patrol, state investigators and local law enforcement officials with Douglas and Cass counties. The lawsuits said they were detained without probable cause and subjected to coercive interrogation that led Livers, who is mentally disabled, to falsely confess.

While investigating the killings, Kofoed reported that he found a speck of a victim’s blood in a car linked to Livers and Sampson. He argued in his defense that accidental cross-contamination was at fault, but prosecutors said Kofoed took DNA evidence and used it to fake a positive test to bolster a case against the two men. A judge found Kofoed guilty of evidence tampering in 2010, and he spent two years in prison.

State and local officials reached settlements last year with the two men, with Livers getting $1.65 million from the state and Cass and Douglas counties. Sampson received $965,000 from the state and county governments.

The settlements left Kofoed as the lone defendant in their lawsuits.

Kofoed did not hire an attorney and did not participate in court actions. He did not respond Tuesday to an email seeking comment, and a phone number for him could not be found.

“We doubt that Mr. Kofoed individually has the means to pay for what he did to these young men,” said Maren Chaloupka, the Scottsbluff attorney for Livers and Sampson. She said she likely will try to get Douglas County’s insurer to pay the judgments.


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