A man recently convicted of the beating death of his girlfriend now faces a $100 million judgment stemming from a parallel wrongful death claim.
Greene County Circuit Judge Mark Powell entered the massive judgment against Shane L. Mackey on Feb. 9, just three weeks after a different judge found Mackey guilty of second-degree murder in the Nov. 9, 2020 death of Racheal Sanders.
Sanders’ son, Seth Sanders, brought a wrongful death lawsuit against Mackey that was set to be heard in a bench trial featuring the same witnesses and evidence from the recent criminal trial. But Eric Jensen of Sifers Jensen Palmer in Springfield, an attorney for the plaintiff, said that rather than proceed with a trial he was likely to lose, the defendant agreed to a consent judgment of $20 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages.
Attorneys Doug Fredrick and Rachel Morgan, who represented Mackey in the civil case, said their client agreed to the money judgment but didn’t admit to any of the facts alleged in the suit. He is scheduled to be sentenced in the criminal case in April.
The judgment, which appears to the largest ever in Greene County, is largely uncollectable, though Jensen said the plaintiff may be able to recover some of Mackey’s assets and a payment may be available through the state’s Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund. Jensen said he also hopes its “shock value” sends a message.
“We were hoping that would help in domestic violence situations,” he said. “People would realize that not only are there criminal sanctions, but there is a civil side to this that’s never good.”
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$100 million judgment
Breakdown: $20 million in compensatory damages, $80 million in punitive damages
Venue: Greene County Circuit Court
Case Number/Date: 2131-CC00012/Feb. 9, 2023
Judge: Mark Powell
Caption: Seth E. Sanders v. Shane L. Mackey
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Robert Palmer and Eric Jensen, Sifers Jensen Palmer, Springfield
Defendant’s Attorneys: Doug Fredrick and Rachel Morgan, Law Office of Doug Fredrick, Springfield