Man convicted of murder loses civil action

$11 million awarded in wrongful death suit

By Joe P. Asher - [email protected]

Christopher Paul Smith

A Cumberland man convicted of the 2009 murder of Kim Ealy has been ordered to pay the victim’s husband and estate over $11 million following the conclusion of a civil action filed in Harlan Circuit Court.

The civil action, filed by Harmon Ealy on Jan. 21, 2010, states Christopher Smith, 44, shot and killed Kim Ealy on Dec. 7, 2009 while Ealy was operating a Ford F-150. The civil complaint states Harmon Ealy, Kim Ealy’s husband and the executor of her estate, was deprived to the companionship of his wife and asked for a judgment against Smith.

The judgment, signed by Harlan Circuit Court Judge Kent Hendrickson and filed in the Harlan Circuit Court Clerk’s office on Feb. 17, awards Harmon Ealy a total of $11,705,848.30.

The judgment states the civil action was heard at a bench trial on Jan. 15. Harmon Ealy was represented by Katie Gilliam of the Gilliam Firm of London. Smith was present and represented by attorney Danny Lunsford.

The judgment grants $697,445 for the wrongful death claim, $1 million for loss of consortium, $10 million for punitive damages and $8,403.30 for funeral expenses. An interest rate of 12 percent per annum will apply until the judgment is paid in full.

According to previous reports, Smith had a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, Melissa Clark of Cumberland. Ealy was driving on KY 522 near Hiram with Clark and her juvenile son when Smith discharged a firearm killing Ealy. Following the shooting, Ealy’s vehicle exited the road and came to rest of the southbound shoulder. Ealy suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Clark and the juvenile were able to escape by running to nearby residences. Smith fled the scene in his pickup truck, turning himself in the following day to the Letcher County Sheriff’s Office. Smith was incarcerated in the Harlan County Detention Center, where served with an indictment warrant on Jan. 6, 2010.

According to the Harlan Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Smith was sentenced to life in prison on Oct. 7, 2011 for murder, attempted murder, first-degree wanton endangerment and unlawful imprisonment. His case is currently on appeal.

Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde

Christopher Paul Smith Paul Smith
$11 million awarded in wrongful death suit

By Joe P. Asher

[email protected]

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