Kidnapping suspect's sister files $20 million claim against FBI - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Kidnapping suspect's sister files $20 million claim against FBI

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James DiMaggio & Hannah Anderson James DiMaggio & Hannah Anderson

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8/AP) - The sister of a man killed in the Idaho wilderness after he was suspected of kidnapping a teen girl and killing her mother and brother in California has filed a claim seeking $20 million from the FBI.

Lora DiMaggio Robinson's lawyer, C. Keith Greer, says James DiMaggio never got a chance for a fair trial before he was shot by FBI agents two years ago.

Greer filed a claim with the FBI on Thursday and said he plans on filing a lawsuit in Idaho's federal court next week.

"We need a lot more information," Greer said. "We need to know why the officers felt like they were being targeted and to find out if they truly were in harm's way."

DiMaggio, 40, was killed Aug. 10, 2013, one week after authorities said he abducted 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and killed her relatives in Boulevard, California. Authorities have said DiMaggio set fire to his home using a timer to help give him and Anderson a head start.

The teen's disappearance triggered a massive search spanning much of the western U.S. and parts of Canada and Mexico.

FBI agents rushed to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness near Cascade, Idaho, after four horseback riders reported spotting DiMaggio and Anderson. A law enforcement airplane later spotted their campsite, and rescue teams were dropped in by helicopter.

Agents believed they were being targeted by DiMaggio after he fired rifle shots as they closed in on the campsite. According to the autopsy report, DiMaggio was shot six times by two agents.

CBS News 8 obtained the FBI surveillance video tape showing both Hannah Anderson and James DiMaggio moments before and after the shooting and rescue.

The video shows Anderson waving her arms in the air apparently in the direction of the aircraft videotaping the area.

Moments later, DiMaggio is also seen waving his arms in the air, as if to signal for help.  In another portion of the tape, DiMaggio is seen lighting a signal fire.  (The FBI surveillance video is posted as bonus video on this page above.  DiMaggio is seen waving at 2:18 into the video).

During a 2013 interview on the Today Show, Hannah Anderson seemed to confirm that both she and DiMaggio were lost and signaling for help.

“He was trying to start a fire to signal for help.  Then all of a sudden the fire wasn’t working.  So, I said, ‘I read in a book if you fire a gun in the air three times that means SOS.’  So he went to fire once -- and I was watching him -- and then he fired it the second time but he, like, lowered it.  Then a bunch of guns went off and I looked and he fell on the ground," the teen recounted on the Today Show.

"The FBI agents' unprivileged use of force therefore constitutes an assault and battery against DiMaggio, leading to DiMaggio's wrongful death under Idaho law," attorneys stated in the newly-filed claim. "None of the agents present sought to intervene to prevent the excessive force, though able."

The FBI agents' actions were later deemed reasonable by U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, and they did not face criminal charges. At the time, Olson said she declined to prosecute the agents because the investigation couldn't establish beyond a doubt that either agent purposefully violated the law while shooting at DiMaggio.

Robinson told The Associated Press after Olson's decision that she wished her brother received the same consideration as the FBI agents who shot him.

Greer says the agents' actions need to be re-evaluated. He added that by filing a civil lawsuit, they bypass having to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt.

Hannah Anderson’s grandmother, Sara Britt, emailed a statement to CBS News 8 in response to the lawsuit’s claims.  It reads, in part:

All during this investigation thus far, Lora DiMaggio has stated “how can you believe what a 16 year old says, her stories keep changing.”

Now that Hannah is 18, DiMaggio wants to base her sole lawsuit on Hannah’s statements.

There is something wrong with this picture.  DiMaggio, brutally bludgeoned my daughter to the point, they would not let me look at her or hold her after death.  My grandson, burnt beyond anything but DNA confirmation.

DiMaggio’s death was more than justified. He should have endured the torture he inflicted on his victims.  The rescue of my granddaughter was a miracle. We know she would not have survived that weekend had it not been for the 4 horseback riders.

The DiMaggio family has a long history of bad Karma and his death was more than justified.

Lora was not given the life insurance money and it seems like she is only looking for revenge and monetary compensation.

That said, Lora does not see the sadness Hannah and the family have endured over the last two years.  I do not wish that pain and suffering on anyone, not even the murderer's family.

Sara Britt (Hannah Anderson’s grandmother)

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