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, http://www.amnews.com


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  • by ts Location: rockcastle on Jan 15, 2008 at 03:50 PM
    All you people that are up holding for this man don't even have a clue to what the Trachsel family have been through.If you ever have someone in your family gunned down then make your comments. My father was shot on his own property by his neighbor (there was no agrument between them either).My father lived, after many months of hospital stays lots of rehab and his strong will to live and the Lord above.He will never work again or have a normal life. The neighbor never even spent one second in jail.Have you ever heard the saying if you want to shoot someone and get away with it go to Rockcastle Co.Well the saying is very true cause it happened in my family.We have no law here for justice.So what I'm saying if you haven't been there then you don't know what it is like and if you have been there then you would of wanted justice too.
  • by ANGELA Location: WINCHESTER on Jan 14, 2008 at 09:35 AM
    I THINK THAT THEY SHOULD'VE DROP THE CASE AGAINST THIS MAN BECAUSE OF HIS HEALTH. HE HAD BEEN SUFFERING DUE TO HIS HEALTH. HE SHOULD'VE BEEN SENT HOME FROM JAIL SO THAT HE COULD'VE DIED AT HOME WITH HIS FAMILY INSTEAD OF IN THE JAIL. TO ME JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED, NOW LET THIS MANS FAMILY GRIEVE, AND LET HIM REST IN PEACE.
  • by steve Location: lincoln co. on Jan 13, 2008 at 05:29 PM
    my thoughts and prayers are with both familys, however the man is gone now so let him rest in peace and let his kids find some closer too all this.. as far as the lawsuit goes here, what a joke she will be lucky if there is anything left for her too have once the lawyers are paid and his medical bills are taken care of..Get a (edited) life.
  • by Cindy Location: Somerset on Jan 13, 2008 at 04:57 PM
    How are you going to sue the kids? How dumb. We are not responsible for the sins of our fathers. Sell his stuff, pay his bills then if there is anything left maybe you can sue his estate. Then out of any judgement you get you should have to pay for the lawyers the children will have to get for naming them in your suit. Now, my little puppets dance, since I have given my opinion the Cindy Bashing may begin.
  • by Joe Location: lexington on Jan 13, 2008 at 09:59 AM
    Good call. The criminal defense attorney deserves to get paid FIRST.
  • by somewhere in kentucky Location: Lexington on Jan 13, 2008 at 07:49 AM
    I think it is wrong for a community to deny this man a proper burial with his wife a Camp Nelson cemetery. Let him rest in peace, he was never convicted of this crime so no one knows what really happened. What happened to innocent until proven guilty in our country. I feel for the family in this situation you know they want some closer to all this mess. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of this man. And the other family of the victim they are just money hungry. They must need some money since their father got shot ALL I have to say is GET A JOB!!!!! Leave this family alone their dad is gone. Let this story rest I am tired of paying taxes on this trial.

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