Harvard grad student ordered to make payment to family of man he killed with a knife
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that Alexander Pring-Wilson was negligent enough in a fatal knife fight on Western Avenue in Cambridge in 2003 that he owes his victim's daughter $250,000 in damages.
The court agreed with a lower-court judge that Michael Colono was equally negligent in starting the three-on-one beatdown that Pring-Wilson ended by taking out and waving around a folding knife - which left Colono with a fatal stab wound to the heart. But the court also agreed with that judge that Pring-Wilson should have found another way to extricate himself from his attackers:
The judge found that Pring-Wilson was negligent for both "failing to avail himself of reasonable alternatives to combat," and "employing more force than was reasonably necessary to repel the attack." Finding that Colono was comparatively negligent and Pring-Wilson and Colono were equally at fault for Colono's death, the judge decreased the damage award by fifty percent, ordering entry of judgment in the amount of "$10,000 to the Estate of Michael Colono for conscious pain and suffering, and $250,000 for the benefit of Leah Colono [his daughter], for wrongful death."
On appeal, Pring-Wilson's sole claim is that, although the judge's factual findings are sound, those facts require an ultimate finding that he acted intentionally, not that he was negligent. We disagree.