IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
IN THE MATTER OF:
Jackie Lynn Creighton
O R D E R
Claimant appeared in person.
Robert D. Williams, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of West Virginia.
An application of the claimant, Jackie Lynn Creighton, for an award under the West Virginia
Crime Victims Compensation Act, was filed June 6, 2003. The report of the Claim Investigator, filed
November 13, 2003, recommended that no award be granted. An Order was issued on December 22,
2003, upholding the Investigator's recommendation and denying the claim, in response to which the
claimant's request for hearing was filed January 9, 2004. This matter came on for hearing September
16, 2004, the claimant appearing in person, and the State of West Virginia by counsel, Robert D.
Williams, Assistant Attorney General.
On May 4, 2003, Robert D. Creighton, the claimant's 25-year-old husband, was the victim of
criminally injurious conduct inWheeling, Ohio County. The victim was involved in an altercation
when the offender, Timia Jamar Johnson, fatally shot the victim in the neck. Timia Jamar Johnson
has since pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter for this offense and was sentenced to three to 15 years in jail.
As a result of the shooting in which Robert D. Creighton was killed, the claimant incurred
unreimbursed funeral expenses of $880.89.
This Court's initial denial of an award was based on the Claim Investigator's finding that the
claimant was not an innocent victim of crime. W.Va. Code §14-2A-3(l) states: " 'Contributory
misconduct' means any conduct of the claimant ... that is unlawful or intentionally tortious and that,
without regard to the conduct's proximity in time or space to the criminally injurious conduct has
causal relationship to the criminally injurious conduct that is the basis of the claim and shall also
include the voluntary intoxication of the claimant, either by the consumption of alcohol or the use of
any controlled substance when the intoxication has a causal connection or relationship to the injury
The claimant testified at the hearing of this matter that on the evening in question, she had
been at home when her husband, Robert Creighton, came home at 1:30 a.m. She stated that he had
been at his brother's house watching a boxing match all evening. Mrs. Creighton testified that she
did not smell any alcohol on her husband. Mr. Creighton then left to take his son to his
grandmother's house. At 3:30 a.m., Mrs. Creighton received a telephone call informing her that her
husband had been shot. She proceeded to the scene, arriving about five minutes later, only to find that
her husband was already dead. Mrs. Creighton testified that her husband had been sitting outside the
bar waiting for a friend. She stated that her husband had been barred from entering that bar, but that
this was in relation to a lawsuit that they had against the bar for a previous incident in which her
husband had fallen and broken his arm on the bar's premises. While he was waiting outside, a man
came out and said more or less that he wanted to hurt somebody. The man, Timia Jamar Johnson
, approached her husband and he defended himself. Mr. Creighton was then shot and killed.
Allecia M. Creighton, the victim's mother, testified that on the date of the incident, she was
at her home in Cleveland. She received a telephone call at 3:30 a.m. from her mother telling her that
her son had been shot. At 4:00 a.m., she received another telephone call informing her that her son
had died. Ms. Creighton testified that her son had been sitting outside a bar on his friend's car when
the offender came outside and stated that he wanted to kill a couple of people that day. Her son
apparently thought that the man was talking to him, and a fight ensued. Mr. Creighton was walking
away from the fight when someone called his name. He turned around and was shot in the neck. Ms.
Creighton testified that her son then ran toward his vehicle and tied his shirt around his neck to try
to stop the bleeding. Ms. Creighton stated that her son died beside his vehicle.
Donna Saunders, Robert Creighton's godmother, testified that he was not a troublemaker. She
stated that he would not start a fight, but that he would not just let someone come up to him and
punch him in the face. Ms. Saunders testified that she is raising Mr. Creighton's son, Deshawn
The Claim Investigator's original finding was that the claimant was guilty of contributory
misconduct within the meaning of the statute. The original Order upheld the Claim Investigator's
finding, disallowing the claim. Thus it became the claimant's burden to prove by a preponderance
of the evidence that her husband was not guilty of contributory misconduct.
The claimant testified
that her husband had not been drinking. Mrs. Creighton also testified that while her husband had been
barred from entering the bar, he had only been barred from there because of a pending lawsuit.
Allecia Creighton testified that her son had been walking away from the altercation with the offender
when the offender shot him. In the light of the evidence put forth by the claimant, the Court is of the opinion that the claimant has met her burden of proof. The evidence adduced at the hearing of the
matter establishes that the claimant had not been drinking and was in no way guilty of contributory
The Court is constrained by the evidence to reverse its previous ruling and find that the
claimant was not guilty of contributory misconduct. Following the hearing, the Court received
documentation of unreimbursed allowable expenses of $500.00 for funeral expenses. An additional
$380.89 is due and owing to the funeral home. Accordingly, an award in the total sum of $880.89
is hereby granted as set out below. Should the claimant later submit evidence of any additional
unreimbursed allowable expenses relating to the criminal incident giving rise to this claim, they will
be reviewed by the Court at that time.
Kepner Funeral Homes
1308 Chapline St.
Wheeling, WV 26003
Jackie Lynn Creighton
19300 Marvin Rd.
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128