PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — The widow of an elderly man who was shot and killed by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies Friday announced a $50 million lawsuit against the department and the Coroner’s office.
The suit alleges the department murdered her husband and the Coroner disposed of his body without her consent.
According to court documents filed on behalf of 48-year-old Tonya Pate, Sheriff’s deputies claimed her husband, Eugene Mallory, was operating a meth lab in their Littlerock home. The documents allege deputies stormed the property on June 27 and fatally shot the 80-year-old six times while he was lying in bed.
“The deputies were executing a search warrant based on clearly false information; one prepared by an “expert deputy” who had during a purported surveillance, smelled meth chemicals for “four days” coming from Mallory’s home and that he concluded that the home was a clandestine methamphetamine lab,” court documents stated.
Pate is represented by high-profile lawyers Mark S. Algorri and James M. Bergener. They claim no meth-related chemicals were ever found in the home. The sheriff’s department say they found a marijuana growing operation on the property.
An LASD deputy’s account of the incident sites that Mallory was not lying in bed and that he confronted deputies with a .22-caliber pistol upon entry to his home.
“The truth of the matter is a gentleman pointed a semi-automatic weapon at our deputies,” LASD spokesperson Steve Whitmore said.
“The Coroner’s report plainly confirms evidence that the 6’4″ Mallory, who died at the scene, was shot six times with bullets apparently while still in bed. The Coroner determined that the bullet wound trajectories angled downward through his body,” documents stated.
The suit also states that the coroner found no gun residue on Mallory and he could not see without his glasses, “making it unlikely that he got out of bed or pointed a weapon at the deputies.”
Pate claims authorities refused to allow her to see Mallory’s body or say goodbye to him, transporting his body to the County morgue for an autopsy.
“After the autopsy was concluded, the Coroner failed to notify Ms. Pate, claiming they did not know that she was married to Mallory. Instead, they wrongly turned over his body to an out-of-state relative, who had him cremated, depriving Ms. Pate from having her own forensic autopsy performed,” documents stated.
“The only information I got was the death certificate,” Pate said.
The LASD has yet to comment on the lawsuit.