State News

Family of Johnston man killed in Wilmington parking lot to get $1.9M

Posted December 11, 2015

— The insurance company for the city of Wilmington will pay $1.9 million to the family of a college student who was shot and killed three years ago in a city parking lot.

Local media outlets report while the settlement was reached earlier, the amount that will be paid to the family of Joshua Proutey was not announced until this week.

The 19-year-old Proutey, a West Johnston High School graduate and Cape Fear Community College student, was confronted in an unpaved, unlit city parking lot in December of 2012 by three robbers. One of them shot and killed the teen.

Proutey's family sued, saying the city was negligent because the parking lot wasn't lit and the city didn't exercise care in keeping the lot safe.

As part of the settlement, the victim's family agreed to dismiss their lawsuit.

Quintell Raheem Grady pleaded guilty two years ago to first-degree murder and several other charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Christopher Daniel Cromartie Jr. pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to at least 35 years in prison.

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  • Roscoe P Coltrane Dec 11, 2015
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    If I fence in my back yard, then post trespassing, and beware of dog signs, then a criminal jumps me fence, only to be bit by my dogs, By law, I am culpable. If I turn off my pool lights before bed and some low life person goes through that pool area, in the quest of robbing me, were to fall, I could and would be sued, for making my property in an unsafe manner. This doesn't just come off the top of my head. This was actually done. LEO's cannot be everywhere, at he same time. Construction sites flow at an average rate of progress.

    I am not in any way excusing murder. I am not even condoning any other criminal event happening here. The fact remains, this was an out of the way place, where 2 teens could go, to make out. Had they gone to a Wilmington City park and this same crime happen , would they still be screaming ?

  • Dawn Daniels Dec 11, 2015
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    I personally knew Josh's Mother. She has done nothing but great works mentoring to young children/teens and for at risk children in honor of her beloved son. She has not one greedy bone in her body and I can guarantee the money will be put towards her goals and dream of keeping Josh's spirit alive. So please don't be so judgemental. Regardless of people's opinion on the family winning the lawsuit....it was won in the court of law. And believe me if Josh's Mom had 1.9 million and it took every dime she had to save her son she would have surrendered every last cent!

  • Aaron Whaley Dec 11, 2015
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    As usual a very poorly written article. There is much more to it than what is written here. There have been repeated issues with lack of policing and lighting in this area for many years, the city owns the lot and is culpable for NOT taking care of the issues. If you own a piece of property that the public is going to access you have a duty to make sure it is safe, or place it off limits. Also not stated in this article is the fact the family is using the money to fund a non-profit to try and help at risk miscreants, to avoid this happening in the future. The key person charged was a repeat offender aka career criminal.

  • Dan Homiller Dec 11, 2015
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    No it doesn't. Once again, it has been the case for hundreds of years in England and then in the US that you must keep your property reasonably safe if you're going to invite people onto it. Here the city operated a public parking lot, and was therefore inviting people onto it, and therefore had an obligation to keep it safe. Whether or not lights would have been a prudent precaution depends on the exact circumstances surrounding the lot, but the idea that the city should have lighted it doesn't sound particularly unreasonable or "dangerous" to me.

  • Rosco Coltrane Dec 11, 2015
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    This sets a dangerous precedent.

  • Dan Homiller Dec 11, 2015
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    Two things:
    1. The robbers' families probably don't have any money and, assuming that the robbers were adults, the robbers' families aren't legally responsible for the robbers' actions.

    2. Nobody's arguing that "every area around town" be lit up. The legal reality, which hasn't really changed all that much in 400 years or so, is that if somebody invites the public onto their property, then it is incumbent upon that somebody to make that property reasonably safe. This is no different than the standard that you or I or any other business must meet when inviting the public onto our property. Here, Wilmington apparently operated a public parking lot, but had no lights on it. I think it's a pretty good chance that a jury would have found that failing to put lights on that public parking lot was unreasonable.

  • Patty MacRae Dec 11, 2015
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    Do you know the family or their intentions? I don't. But I am thinking that they are devastated and angry. And when you are angry you want to blame someone. A lawsuit is the only power they have. That said, I do hope they use the money for a worthwhile cause to honor this young man's life.

  • Jaime Myers Dec 11, 2015
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    I'm sure there will be backlash from this...but uumm....people get murdered everyday that dont deserve it......where are their pay outs?

  • Arron Lee Dec 11, 2015
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    Two things:
    1. The robbers' families should pay any king of law suit. The robbers killed him, not the City of Wilmington.
    2. Good lesson folks, don't go in unlit areas alone at night. Every area around town can't be lit up.

  • Bobby Caudle Dec 11, 2015
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    can you say greed!