Judge says Shue death a homicide
By Zeke MacCormack: Express-News
Kendall County Court at Law Judge Bill Palmer also absolved USAA Life Insurance Co. of any negligence in his death, as Shue’s widow, Tracy Shue, had claimed.
Both sides saw vindication in Palmer’s ruling that USAA had acted properly and that Shue’s death was a homicide.
Palmer, who also has reviewed the lawsuit’s 2,100 exhibits, ruled quickly after both sides rested.
In comments from the bench he said Shue “was murdered,” while his written judgment calls the death a homicide. Neither gives any explanation for the finding.
“If Palmer has evidence there was a homicide, don’t you think he should notify law enforcement instead of making a statement in a civil trial?” White asked. “It’s ridiculous.”
He said USAA had no duty to cancel the policy or investigate Col. Shue’s claims of death plot warnings.
He noted Shue’s death was deemed a suicide by military investigators, the medical examiner and White, the justice of the peace, who declined comment Wednesday.
Former Kendall County Sheriff’s Lt. Roger Anderson testified last week that foul play likely befell Shue, but said the colonel also could have staged his abduction and then died accidentally in the crash.
Juror Richard Schmidt, 49, agreed with Palmer’s ruling.
“I don’t believe (Shue) could have mutilated himself, and I don’t believe any man who was going to commit suicide would have his seat belt on,” Schmidt said.