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S.L. County, father OK settlement

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Salt Lake County has settled a lawsuit against a sheriff's deputy who shot a 17-year-old girl three years ago.

County attorney John Soltis said the county settled the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of Alicia Avila for $100,000. Based on the settlement, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball dismissed the case last week.

The settlement included attorney fees and was agreed upon "without an admission of fault," Soltis said.

Sheriff Aaron Kennard said last month that it goes against his nature to settle, but in this case he believed it was the best thing. The County Commission also discussed the matter behind closed doors last month before approving the decision.

In December 1997, Alicia Avila was shot to death by deputy Michael Anderson in a parking lot in the neighborhood of 3300 South and 500 East. Avila and two male companions were in a stolen car that Anderson had been chasing when they turned into a dead-end parking lot near midnight.

The two males jumped a fence, but Avila turned to face Anderson. When she raised her arm, Anderson, who couldn't tell whether Avila was male or female in the dark, believed she had a weapon and fired his gun. A hairbrush was later found near her body.

Anderson was cleared by prosecutors, and Robert Avila filed the civil suit in federal court.

In the settlement, "no wrongdoing is attributed at all to deputy Anderson," Soltis said.

Roberto Avila's attorney, Gary Jensen, was not available for comment.


E-MAIL: hans@desnews.com