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Wichita ABC (KAKE): Supreme Court Reverses Jury Verdict in Suit Against Local TV Station

4/30/2010


The Kansas Supreme Court today reversed the balance of a jury verdict that was awarded to the family of a Wichita man who was incorrectly identified by a Wichita TV station as a suspect in the BTK murders.

A Sedgwick County judge originally awarded Roger Valadez $250,000 for mental suffering, shame and humiliation. The Supreme Court reversed the award, finding "while Valadez provided testimony that he suffered emotional distress, he failed to present evidence that the distress was extreme".

The jury award was based on reporting by station KSNW against Emmis Communications, station owner, and the station's news director. On December 1, 2004, the family claimed the station linked Valadez to the BTK case after a search of Valadez' home. Dennis Rader was arrested two months later in connection with the murders and ultimately pled guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder.