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Chardon Healing Fund Lawsuit Hearing

Chardon: one year later

CHARDON, Ohio — A judge on Friday afternoon heard from the families of three teens killed at Chardon High School last year, as they continue to move forward with a lawsuit against the United Way and the Chardon Healing Fund. A hearing was held Friday afternoon in Geauga County Common Pleas Court. The families of Demetrius Hewlin, Daniel Parmertor and Russell King, Jr., claim that of the $952,000 donated to the Chardon Healing Fund, they have only received less than $150,000 and that requests for more money have been denied. Dina Parmertor said her family used the benefits to pay their mortgage and expenses, but after six months, they received a notification that the payments would be ending. “They said after six months that they were done, we were done, we healed and we were just sort of done, and you know I wasn’t working yet, I wasn’t back to work, my husband wasn’t working,” said Parmertor During the hearing, Parmertor said when her family notified representatives of the fund that they still needed help, they were told the assistance would be continued for another six months and then would end, even though there was still a substantial amount of money left in the fund. Jeannie King said grief over the loss of her son Russell forced her to quit her job after 28 years. She believes the fund’s decision to use donated money to pay for suicide prevention programs and to help pay for a resource officer at Chardon High School comes at the expense of the families. “I’m not in the same position, so for them to say, ‘ok, you’re done after a year,’ no, I just started counseling and that’s not their problem, right, but they can continue to cover the community for ten years because there’s a problem there,” said King. “What am I? I’m the mother of a child who was killed.” Attorneys for the United Way and the Healing Fund said the funds are not only for the students killed, but for the survivors’ medical expenses and the community as well. They denied any wrongdoing and said the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit only after the one year agreed time to pay their immediate expenses expired. A Geauga County judge last month placed an immediate order to freeze the money in the fund pending the outcome of the case.
Jennifer Deckard on the witness stand.
Jennifer Deckard, Board Chair for Chardon Healing Fund, takes the stand.
Demetrius Hewlin’s father talks about receiving the phone call that his son died and seeing him dead in the hospital. “No one in here will ever want to see that picture. That is not how I want to remember my son.”
Demetrius Hewlin’s father takes the stand. “I had a fantastic relationship with my son.”
“I’m not here for money (it’s) so no one is treated the way we’ve been treated.” — Mrs. King on why she is testifying in the hearing.
“When my son died, a part of me died with him.” — Russell King, Jr.’s mom.
Russell King, Jr.’s mom takes the stand.
Court taking short recess.
Dina Parmertor testifies during the Chardon Healing Fund lawsuit hearing.
Ohio Attorney General’s Office attorney cross examines Dina Parmertor, says fund paid $17,000 to victims’ families. The money went toward their living expenses, attorney says.
Dina Parmertor says she feels like she has had to “beg” for some of the money from the Chardon Healing Fund.
“I see my son laying there bloody. It’s very hard. It’s extremely difficult.” — Dina Parmertor on the difficulties of returning to work after Danny’s death.
Dina Parmertor: We need the money to pay our bills.
Dina Parmertor on son’s death: “It’s torture. It’s unimaginable for people to say to us they don’t know how we feel and then turn around and say we’re healed. It’s degrading.”
Board member allegedly told Dina Parmertor that she was “healed” six months after her son’s death.