February 7, 2013

Suspected Biddeford killer sued for at least $1 million

The woman who survived two bullets – and saw her son and his girlfriend slain – says they were harassed for months.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

ALFRED – A Biddeford woman who police say was shot twice by her landlord just before he killed her son and the son's girlfriend has filed a lawsuit seeking at least $1 million in damages.

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A makeshift memorial stands across from 17 Sokokis Road in Biddeford, where Derrick Thompson and Alivia Welch were shot dead, in this December 2012 file photo.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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In this Dec. 31, 2012 file photo, James Pak, center, appears in York County Superior Court to face charges of fatally shooting Derrick Thompson, 19, and Alivia Welch, 18, in Biddeford. With Pak is his attorney, Joel Vincent, right.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

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PDF: Biddeford shooting lawsuit

Susan Johnson, 44, is suing James Pak and his wife, Armit Pak, on eight counts ranging from assault to intentional infliction of emotional distress in the shooting Dec. 29 and in the months of harassment that preceded it.

In the lawsuit, filed late last month in York County Superior Court, Johnson calls for the Paks to "adequately compensate (her) for her injuries and damages, including compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees, and impose interest, costs and all other relief that this court deems just and proper."

The Paks have not filed a response, and documents did not indicate whether they had an attorney in the lawsuit.

James Pak, 74, is charged with murdering Derrick Thompson, 19, and his girlfriend, Alivia Welch, 18, and attempting to murder Johnson. All three were shot at close range with a .357 revolver. Johnson was shot in the back and the right arm. Thompson and Welch were both shot in the chest.

Pak was arrested about three hours after the shootings and has been held without bail since then.

The lawsuit sheds more light on the events of Dec. 29 and the exchanges between Pak and his tenants in the preceding weeks. It largely mirrors the account in the police affidavit filed in support of the murder charge against Pak.

Johnson's attorney, Twain Braden, laid out her account in a 22-page complaint.

In it, Johnson says she inquired in September about renting an apartment that is connected to the Paks' home on Sokokis Road in Biddeford. She looked at the apartment twice, once alone and once with her son, who was going to live with her.

The two moved in on Sept. 30 after paying $900 for the first month's rent plus $900 for a security deposit.

Almost immediately, Johnson says, they clashed with James Pak, mainly over Thompson's girlfriend, Welch, who stayed at the apartment frequently.

Pak and his wife told Johnson that they would be charged an additional $200 a month if a third person was going to live there, the lawsuit says.

Johnson says she told Pak that Welch was not living there and that she and her son were entitled to have visitors.

Pak continued to pester the mother and son about Welch's visits and other things, the lawsuit says, such as the level of heating oil and the fact that the tenants were keeping belongings in the Paks' garage.

Johnson says Pak confronted her son about 10 times from October to December.

"He was frequently abusive, shouted constantly in his confrontations, made lewd gestures at Derrick and, when someone else was attempting to speak, had a habit of holding up his hands (and) moving his fingers in the manner of a puppet," the complaint reads.

Johnson says Armit Pak often apologized for her husband's behavior.

The tension escalated in December, when Johnson was late paying that month's rent, the lawsuit says. Johnson told Pak that she would pay it only if he made improvements to the apartment and stopped harassing her and her son.

On Dec. 17, Johnson says, she found what she thought was an eviction notice on the door, but discovered when she called the court that no notice had been filed.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Staff Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette: James Pak appears in York County Superior Court in Alfred Monday, December 31,2012 to face charges of fatally shooting Derrick Thompson, 19, and Alivia Welch, 18, who were his tenants. With Pak is his attorney Joel Vincent, right.


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