Shooting victim's family files lawsuit

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2005

The state of Alaska and two state troopers were given 20 days to respond to a lawsuit filed in Kenai Superior Court alleging wrongful conduct in the shooting death of Casey Porter in a Sterling Highway pullout two years ago.

The civil suit, filed by Anchorage attorney Phillip Weidner on behalf of Porter's parents, Arthur J. and Kristie L. Porter, seeks relief in the amount of $100,000, plus punitive damages. A jury trial has been requested.

The complaint states that on Jan. 4, 2003, at approximately 9 p.m., Casey Porter was in a roadside pullout at approximately Mile 80 of the Sterling Highway, had violated no law and did not display probable cause for Troopers Arthur Osborn and Joseph Whittom to stop him.

The troopers did stop Porter, however, violating his constitutional rights, and according to the complaint, "used an excessive amount of force ... assaulted him, shot and killed (him)."

Osborn told investigators that Porter refused to exit his vehicle after being ordered to do so, he then began driving in the direction of Whittom, and Osborn began shooting, thinking his partner's life was in jeopardy.

Porter, 30, was struck four times and died at the scene.

A trooper investigation into the shooting incident subsequently concluded the shooting was justified and state prosecutors decided not to file charges against Osborn.

About one year later, a civil suit was filed on behalf of Porter's estate, represented by the mother of one of Porter's children.

That lawsuit, which named the state and Osborn as defendants, is still pending.

Orders issued by Judge Harold Brown in the new civil case instruct the state, Osborn and Whittom to respond to the complaint within 20 days from the date of filing, Dec. 30.

Osborn currently is assigned to prisoner transport duties, and Whittom remains on patrol in Kotzebue, according to a trooper spokesperson.

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