Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Albert Snyder of York, Pa., the father of a Westminster Marine who was killed in Iraq, today won his case in a Baltimore federal court against members of Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church who protested at his son's funeral last year.

The jury of five women and four men awarded Snyder $2.9 million in compensatory damages. The amount of punitive damages to be awarded has not yet been decided. The jury deliberated for about two hours yesterday and much of today.

The jury was to begin deliberating the size of punitive damages after receiving further instructions, although U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett noted the size of the compensatory award “far exceeds the net worth of the defendants,” according to financial statements filed with the court.

All I can say is hip hip hooray and I hope they really do have to pay.

The following is from 49 ABC News (Kansas).

Jury orders Westboro Baptist to pay millions to father of fallen Marine

The father of a fallen Marine has been awarded $2.9 million by a jury that found leaders of a fundamentalist church had invaded the family's privacy when they picketed the Marine's funeral.

The protesters from Topeka-based Westboro Baptist church at the funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder carried signs with messages like "God hates fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers." They say the deaths are punishment for the country's tolerance of homosexuality.

In an opening statement Tuesday, Shirley Phelps-Roper compared members church members to biblical prophets who sought to save doomed nations that had strayed from God.

Phelps-Rogers is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, which was being sued by Albert Snyder, of York, Pa., over a protest at the funeral of his son in Maryland.

Snyder's doctor says he has health problems and trouble sleeping.

His son, Matthew Snyder of Westminster, was killed fighting with the Marines in Iraq.

After the Westboro Baptist Church protested at his son's funeral, Snyder filed an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against the church. He was also seeking damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The church says it's exercising its free speech rights.

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