Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

$430,000 Settlement in North Carolina Police Department’s Failure to Enforce Protective Order

North Carolina’s Jonesville Police Department paid $430,000 to a lawsuit filed by Vernatta Cockerham, who claimed the police department failed to enforce a restraining order she had taken out against her estranged husband, Richard Ellerbee, on November 13, 2002.

Cockerham says that she informed Chief Tim Gwyn and Officer Scott Vestal that Ellerbee violated the order numerous times. She informed them Ellerbee broke into her house to leave a note that he would kill her, dug graves for her and her children across the street from her house, threatened her daughter at her son’s daycare, and stalked her with his car. The officers dispute that Cockerham ever told them anything.

On November 19, 2002, Ellerbee fatally stabbed Cockerham’s 17-year-old daughter, Candace, and then stabbed Cockerham. A few days later, Ellerbee killed himself. The matter settled in June 2009. See: Cockerham-Ellerbee v. Town of Jonesville, 660 S.E.2d 178 (2008).


As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Cockerham-Ellerbee v. Town of Jonesville