Family of murder victim sues killer's wife, estate

May 8, 2008 8:45:56 PM PDT
Family members of a murdered 20-year-old man have filed a lawsuit in connection with the crime.Investigators say Ari Squire killed Justin Newman and then faked his own death so as to assume Newman's identity and collect on an insurance policy.

It's emotional and difficult for Newman's mother and brother to talk about his murder. The victm was working at a Home Depot when Squire approached him. Police and lawyers say Squire lured Newman to his home, promising better work and more money. But Squire killed him. And now, Newman's family has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

"I need justice for my son and I don't care who was involved. They need to be accounted for what happened to him. He was 20 years old. He had his whole life ahead of him and somebody needs to pay for it," said victim's mother, Donna FioRito.

Newman loved fishing, NASCAR and his family, still hurting after his February murder.

"He was my only, only brother. So for this to have happened, I still have processing the events that unfolded. I'm left now without a brother," said Frank Testa III.

"I get up every day. I still can't believe what happened - the way it happened. I know everybody dies but not that way. It's terrible," said FioRito.

The family's lawyers blame Squire and his wife, Denise. They say Ari Squire lured Newman to his Lake Barrington home, ran over his drugged body, pinned him under a truck and then set the garage on fire.

They say Ari Squire faked his own death and then assumed Newman's identity, swapping clothes, wallets and shoes. When police found Ari Squire in Eureka, Missouri, he killed himself.

The lawsuit alleges Squire and his wife Denise hatched the plan together, perhaps to collect on a $5 million life insurance policy.

"Whatever possessed them to be so greedy to take a young man's life so they can benefit themselves is truly mind boggling and something this family would like to hold them accountable for," said Jon Loevy, family's attorney.

The civil lawsuit alleges that Denise Squire was part of the deadly scheme. When her husband was supposed to be dead, the lawsuit alleges that she exchanged e-mails with him. They addressed Air Squire's fake funeral. And Mrs. Squire wrote that his body had not been released. She also held a dinner to celebrate her husband's life.

"There is every reason to believe she was part of a conspiracy to commit this crime, and we hope the authorities will prosecute her for that," said Loevy.

Lake County authorities did not return phone calls Thursday afternoon.

But Denise Squire's attorney emphasizes that she is not involved in the murder and has not been charged with any crimes.

On the criminal side: prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Denise Squire was involved. In a civil case: it's a lower standard. They would only have to prove that she was likely involved in the scheme.

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