Cambridge asks federal judge to end suit over 3 fire deaths

June 30, 1993|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Staff Writer

BALTIMORE -- An attorney for the city of Cambridge asked a federal judge yesterday for a summary judgment in an $18 million wrongful death suit filed against the town and one of its police officers.

The suit stemmed from a March 10, 1989 incident in which the ex-boyfriend of Carol L. Pinder set fire to her Cambridge home, killing her three children. Donald Pittman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three consecutive life terms.

In her suit filed in U.S. District Court in March 1992, Carol L. Pinder claimed that Cambridge government and police failed to protect her and her family.

She said police should have jailed Pittman after he broke into her home, attacked her and threatened her life.

Pittman was arrested but was released, returned to the house and set it afire, killing Kim Pinder, 11, LaToya Brummell, 4, and Troy Brummell, 2.

Samuel L. Israel, a lawyer for the city and for Officer Donald Johnson, asked Senior Judge Edward S. Northrop for a summary judgment in favor of his clients. He said there was no basis for the charges.

"A reasonable jury cannot find that the city of Cambridge and Officer Johnson were responsible for the deaths of those three children," Mr. Israel said. "The man who committed the murders is in jail, and that's the way it should be."

Judge Northrop said he would consider the arguments and decide later whether to proceed with a trial.

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