The family is accusing the state of failing to watch Calvin Finley, the convicted felon who killed 38-year-old Kurt Husted during the June 2009 robbery.
The Husted family says there’s no excuse for why Finley wasn’t locked up behind bars at the time of the killing. His parents are now suing the state, claiming the Department of Corrections failed to keep tabs on Finley.
“This person was recognized as one of the most dangerous people out there,” said Jeremy Johnston, an attorney who’s representing the family.
According to the lawsuit, Finley had been in and out of prison for years prior to the robbery. The suit also contends Finley violated the conditions of his release time and time again, but was never returned to prison.
At the time Husted was killed, there was an active warrant for Finley’s arrest.
“They should have picked him up right away,” said Kurt’s mom, Janet Husted. “They knew where he was. So the jails are crowded. Make them sleep in shifts, I don’t care.”
Wilbert Pina is also suing. He was a customer that day and was hit by the same bullet that killed Husted.
“All of a sudden I felt a push in my shoulder and I heard a bang,” he said.
Pina, who was with his one-year-old son, had no idea he’d been hit until he turned around and saw Husted.
“And he’s lying in his own blood. It’s just, it’s hard to picture it, but to erase it you can’t, it’s just there,” he said.
Pina said he still has daily pain from the bullet that’s lodged in his bone.
“That should have never happened,” he said.
The Department of Corrections released a statement on the lawsuit, stating it does not normally discuss pending litigation and will work to find the best course of action for the agency, taxpayers and all parties involved.
A total of four people were convicted and sentenced, including Finley, for the robbery and shooting,
A Pierce County Superior Court judge handed down that sentence to Calvin Finley, 37, who pleaded guilty to the murder last July.
Finley admits that he shot armored truck guard Kurt Husted last June, then fled the scene.
Husted’s family and fiance sat in the courtroom Friday and spoke to Finley before the life sentence was handed down.
“I want you to know something, Mr. Finley,” said Husted’s fiancee, Deborah Bishop. “I feel sorry for you. I’ve been very bitter. But you know what? I’m done with that. It’s time to stop reminding myself of what won’t be – and plan for what will be.”
Finley showed no remorse and did not apologize for the murder. But Bishop says she is relieved justice has been served.
Finley originally was scheduled to be sentenced in January, but it was held up by some last-minute legal maneuvering.
Prosecutors say surveillance tape caught the execution-style killing and theft of the money bags Husted was transporting to the armored truck.
Four other people – Marshawn Turpin, 20; Tonie Williams-Irby, 42; Odies Walker, 41; and Brittney Marie Maas-Baines – have been charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the case. They have all pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said the group spent a month planning the heist, and two of them celebrated with a big dinner at Red Lobster afterward.
As a Wal-Mart employee, Williams-Irby was briefed at company meetings about the weekly and monthly income of the store, and she told the other suspects that “hundreds of thousands of dollars” could be stolen from the armored car.
In the three days before the robbery, Finley and Walker went to the Wal-Mart store and timed the movements of the armored car and the guard carring the money bags, according to court documents. During this period, Turpin also was recruited to help out in the scheme.
On the day of the robbery, Williams-Irby was working at the store. The armored truck arrived near the front door, and Husted proceeded into the store.
Shortly afterward, Walker drove a white Buick up to the store’s front entrance, about 100 feet behind the armored car. Surveillance cameras then showed that Finley and Turpin got out of the car and walked quickly into the store.
Less than a minute later, Finley and Turpin approached the guard as he was walking toward the exit in a crowded area of the store, with a cart containing bags of cash and checks.
Finley then whipped out a handgun and shot the guard, Husted, in the face, according to court documents. Husted collapsed to the floor as Finley calmly turned and walked out of the store.
Turpin, who also was armed, swooped down and and grabbed the money bags from the guard’s cart, then ran from the store behind Finley, court documents say.
When Finley was arrested, officers found more than $20,000 in a safe in the trunk of his car, according to court documents. When Irby-Williams and Walker were arrested, more than $20,000 was found in a safe at their home.
The man accused of fatally shooting a Loomis armored-car guard during a robbery at a Lakewood Wal-Mart in June pleaded guilty this morning to aggravated first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Calvin Finley, 35, was accused of killing Kurt Husted on June 2. He agreed to plead guilty to avoid facing the death penalty, according to Mark Lindquist, chief criminal deputy for the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors have already said they would not seek the death penalty against three co-defendants who have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The co-defendants — Marshawn A. Turpin, 20; Odies D. Walker, 41; and Tonie Marie Williams-Irby, 42 — are also charged with robbery and aggravated first-degree murder, the only charge in Washington punishable by death.
If convicted as charged, they will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors had until Friday to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Finley.
According to police and prosecutors, Williams-Irby was a floor manager at Wal-Mart who planned the robbery with Walker, her boyfriend, and then recruited Finley and Turpin.
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Lakewood police spokesperson Lt. Heidi Hoffman says detectives believe they have arrested the two men seen in surveillance video leaving the store Tuesday. In addition, two other people allegedly involved in the planning are in custody.
Hoffman says one of those, a woman, is a Wal-Mart employee who was at the store during the shooting.
A single bullet to the head at point-blank range killed armored car guard Kurt Husted and wounded a customer holding his child during the robbery. Two suspects then grabbed a bag of money and ran out to a waiting getaway car that a third person was driving.
Hoffman said, based on the surveillance video, that the suspects had no intention of taking the money without violence.
“I did not see hesitation. I did not see negotiation. I saw this poor man executed,” said Hoffman. “There was only one shot fired. They came in. They timed it. They knew exactly what they were doing. They didn’t hesitate and then they got out of there.”
Police have not officially released the names, but here are three people they arrested on murder, robbery and assault charges:
Odies Delandus, 41
Tonie Marie Williams-Irby, 42
Calvin Finley, 37
Delandus and Williams-Irby were arrested late Tuesday night. KING 5 News is told Williams-Irby is the Wal-Mart employee. Finley, arrested Wednesday morning during a traffic stop in Fife, is believed to be one of the men who entered the store.
Tacoma Police SWAT officers hold a man at gunpoint on Wednesday, June 3, 2009. The man is a suspect in a deadly shooting and robbery at a Lakewood, Wash. Wal-Mart.
A 20-year-old man was also arrested by a Tacoma Police SWAT team at an apartment complex Wednesday afternoon. Several blocks were cordoned off to keep the public safe.
Hoffman says all the suspects, including those who were just involved in the planning, may face first-degree murder charges.
Police have recovered about two-thirds of the stolen money, but Hoffman would not say how much was taken in the first place.
“It certainly was not worth taking a man’s life, the amount of money they got,” said Hoffman.
A gun was also recovered and will be tested to determine whether it was the one that shot Husted.
Police say more arrests could be made.
The shooting happened about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday just outside a branch of Anchor Bank located inside the store.
Another man, Wilbert Pina, was hit in the shoulder by the same bullet that killed Husted. He was holding his son at the time. He was treated at the hospital and released. The child was not hurt.
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