Family of victim awarded millions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NATCHEZ —A judge has awarded the family of Christopher Bourdin $3 million in a civil suit filed against the man who admitted killing Bourdin.

But Jimmy Newton Pruitt III and his family will likely never be able to pay the money, attorneys involved in the case said.

Bourdin’s family was awarded $1 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages.

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Bourdin was killed on Nov. 18, 2003, when the young men were hanging out with friends. Pruitt was reportedly playing with a pistol.

Pruitt was pointing the loaded gun at himself and at others and pulling the trigger. When Pruitt pointed the gun at Bourdin and pulled the trigger the gun fired killing Bourdin almost immediately.

The two men were reportedly friends. Charges were originally murder, but were lowered to manslaughter by the court.

Pruitt pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2004 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The verdict in the civil suit was returned last week.

“It will be tough to collect on,” said Grayson Lewis, one of the family’s attorneys.

Pruitt served just three years of his sentence.

“We’ll never see the money,” Bourdin’s mother, Karen Ewing said.

But Ewing does not care about the money.

“I want this to be a constant reminder to him (Pruitt),” Ewing said.

“It was pure stupidity.”

Ewing said she is also furious that Pruitt only served three years.

According to Lewis eight years of the 15-year term were suspended, leaving only seven to be served. Lewis said Pruitt was likely released on good behavior.

“He has still never even apologized,” Ewing said.