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Ex-lawmaker Steve Nunn must pay Ross family more than $20M

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Fayette Circuit Judge has ordered former state lawmaker Steve Nunn, 60, to pay Amanda Ross's family more than $20 million for killing her outside her Lexington home in 2009.

Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael made the ruling late Monday afternoon following a hearing to determine Nunn's financial liability. Last year a judge found Nunn liable for Ross's death after her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him.

"I can't think of a worse case scenario or more graphic scenario," said Fayette Circuit Court Judge James Ishmael. "I wanted to tell you that it's obviously a parent's worst nightmare. I'm very, very sorry about the circumstances."

Judge Ishmael ruled Nunn had to pay $20 million for punitive damages. The judge also ordered Nunn to pay $23,000 for medical costs, $27,000 for funeral costs, $3 million for Amanda's future earning potential, and it didn't stop there.

"I'm going to award pain and suffering to Ms. Ross and to the estate at one million dollars even though it was a brief period of time, thankfully. But it was an intense and graphic period of time," said Judge Ishmael.

That adds up to more than $24 million. Serving life without parole, the remainder of Nunn's assets would go to the Ross family.

During Monday's hearing, witnesses gave testimony about the murder scene and Amanda Ross's concerns about Steve Nunn in the days leading up to the murder.

Former coworkers described how afraid she was of him just a few days before her death. "I said well let me take you to your mother's. She said, 'Sharon, it doesn't matter where I am. He's going to find me and kill me,'" said Sharon Clark, of the Kentucky Department of Insurance.

Amanda's mother, Diana Ross, also took the stand during the hearing. She testified about how terrified Amanda was of Nunn. But after the hearing, Diana Ross, other family members, and attorneys weren't willing to comment on the ruling.

Nunn pleaded guilty in June 2011 to murdering Amanda Ross, 28, outside her townhome. The judge decided that Nunn was also liable for the murder in a civil suit brought forward by Amanda Ross's family.

Ross' family also settled with Opera House Square town homes in a separate lawsuit on Friday. Ross's estate claimed the townhome association didn't do enough to keep Nunn out after Ross filed an emergency protective order against him. The terms of that settlement was not released.

Nunn is serving a life sentence for Ross's murder without the possibility of parole.


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