Jury: Mental Health Center Partly Liable for Death

May 15, 2012

A jury has determined that a mental health center in Denver, Colo., is partly liable for the death of a convenience store clerk who was shot by a patient that had been released by the facility.

The Denver Post reports the jury on Thursday assigned half the liability for 28-year-old Natnael Mulugeta’s death to the Mental Health Center of Denver. Mulugeta’s father also was awarded compensatory damages of $1.1 million and punitive damages of $5.2 million, as well as $23,751 for burial expenses.

Mulugeta, an Ethiopian immigrant, was shot at the south Denver store May 2, 2009. Dale Wayne Baylis was arrested nearby, and the 46-year-old was sentenced to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder.

The center called the death “an unthinkable tragedy” but said the jury’s decision was “unfortunate” and an appeal is being considered.

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