Parents of slain teen file $6 million suit


January 12, 2006|By LAURA CADIZ

The parents of an Ellicott City teenager who was killed by his friend with cyanide are suing the friend's parents, the friend's psychiatrist and the company where he bought the poison for $2 million each.

Ryan Furlough, 21, is serving a life sentence, with the possibility of parole, after being convicted in 2004 of first-degree murder in the death of Benjamin Vassiliev.

Vassiliev's parents, Walter Vassiliev and Karen Dale-Barrett, are seeking a total of $6 million in damages from Susan and Thomas Furlough; Dr. Richard Bacharach and his practice; and Antec Inc., accusing them of negligence that led to Benjamin Vassiliev's death.

The defendants said yesterday that they had not received copies of the lawsuit and would not comment.

According to the lawsuit, Furlough purchased cyanide from Antec's Web site in November 2002 using his mother's credit card. The Furloughs signed for the package - which carried a red warning label indicating it contained hazardous material - when it arrived at their house, the suit states.

On Jan. 3, 2003, Furlough slipped the poison into a soda that Vassiliev drank. Vassiliev died five days later.

Prosecutors argued during Furlough's trial that he killed Vassiliev out of an obsession with Vassiliev's girlfriend. Susan Furlough blames her son's actions on the antidepressant drug Effexor - which faced international scrutiny for its possible behavioral side effects in youths - and on inadequate therapy.

The lawsuit accuses Antec of selling "a known poison that could cause harm to others" to a minor - Furlough was 17 at the time - and of not determining what the poison would be used for.

William Oesterritter, a manager at Antec, testified during the trial that Furlough's order did not appear suspicious because he had also requested cupric nitrate, which is used with cyanide for electroplating.

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