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Today is Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Court Rejects Increase in Damages to Mother of Brandon Teena

[LINCOLN, NE] - The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday rejected an attempt to increase the damage award to the mother of [Brandon Teena] whose murder was dramatized in the 1999 movie "Boys Don't Cry."

[Brandon Teena], 21, [was assaulted and raped after] two acquaintances, John Lotter and Marvin Nissen, [discovered he was biologically female]. [Brandon] told the local sheriff they had raped [him], but they were not arrested.

They murdered [him] and two other people about a week later.

JoAnn Brandon initially asked for $350,000 in damages, claiming Richardson County Sheriff Charles Laux's indifference led to [Brandon's] murder.

District Judge Orville Coady awarded JoAnn Brandon $17,360 in damages, ruling that [Brandon Teena] was partly responsible for [his] own death because of [his] lifestyle.

In an opinion issued last year, the Nebraska Supreme Court said Laux was more concerned with Brandon Teena's sexuality than with keeping [him] safe after [he] reported being raped.

According to last year's ruling, Laux showed indifference by referring to [Brandon Teena] as "it" and not immediately arresting the two suspects, who had threatened to kill [him] if [he] reported the rape.

JoAnn Brandon was then awarded $98,223.

On Friday, the high court upheld that award, recognizing Coady's determination that the relationship between Brandon Teena and JoAnn Brandon was strained.

Brandon's attorney was not in his office and could not be reached for comment.

A lawyer for Laux and Richardson County did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Lotter received three death sentences for the killings and is awaiting execution. Nissen testified against Lotter and was sentenced to life in prison. Neither was ever charged with rape.

Laux is now a guard at the prison in Tecumseh where Lotter sits on Nebraska's death row.

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