Murder Defendant's Death Complicates Civil Suit

DANVILLE, KY -- The death of a man charged with gunning down his neighbor has delayed a civil suit over the shooting.

Boyle Circuit Judge Darren Pickler has indefinitely delayed a civil suit against Jack Caldwell Sr., after Caldwell died Dec. 31 while in custody on murder charges.

Pickler postponed the suit so an administrator for Caldwell's estate could be named, a process that could take up to 60 days.

Bonnie Trachsel sued Caldwell in Boyle Circuit Court in March for wrongful death. Caldwell was accused of killing retired school principal Jim Trachsel in 2004. The 63-year-old Trachsel was shot five times while using a riding lawn mower along a property line he shared with Caldwell.

Caldwell maintained that Trachsel startled him from behind and he fired in self-defense. Caldwell had said he was using the rifle to hunt skunks that had been in his garden.

Prosecutors said the shooting stemmed from a long-running property line dispute.The death of Jack Caldwell Sr. not only put an end to his murder trial, but also caused a civil lawsuit against him and his children to be delayed.

Bonnie Trachsel sued seeking monetary damages from Caldwell and his children Jack Caldwell Jr., Debbie A. Caldwell, Robert L. Caldwell and John T. Caldwell.

Information from: The Advocate-Messenger,

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