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Jury awards former U.Va. student damages

A Charlottesville court ordered former University student Richard W. Smith to pay $200,000 in punitive damages to former student Alexander "Sandy" Kory on Wednesday.

Criminal charges originally were brought against Smith and three others for attacking Kory in 1997.

Harrison Kerr Tigrett, Bradley Kintz and Wesley H. McCluney, all former students, were found guilty and ordered to pay $60,000 each. They also must pay $120,000 for Kory's medical bills.

The $500,000 verdict "sends a resounding message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated in our community," said Bryan Slaughter, one of Kory's trial attorneys.

In the Nov. 21, 1997 assault, Kory sustained a cracked upper jaw and two damaged teeth.

In 1998, Smith pleaded guilty to assault and battery charges in court. The other three pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct based on their involvement in the assault.

In 1999 after several abortive attempts to try the students through the University Judiciary System, University President John T. Casteen III suspended Smith for two years, Tigrett for one year and Kintz for one semester.

According to Kory's testimony Tuesday, he was walking home from Rugby Road on the night of the attack at 5 a.m. when five men began yelling at him from their car. Kory yelled back and there was exchange of profanity.

The car followed him down McCormick Road until he began to cut across Grounds towards Ruffner bridge to make it back to his dorm. When Kory reached Ruffner footbridge, two men attacked him from the front and behind. Kory was punched several times and kicked in the head.

He ran to the Lawn where he pounded on doors, seeking help from residents.

A University police officer testified that Kory appeared to be sober and bloody.

Another police officer testified at the trial that the four men were laughing when they turned themselves into the police for the attack.

"All that Mr. Kory ever wanted out of this lawsuit was to have an impartial jury decide what happened that morning," Slaughter said.

Kory also brought UJC charges against three of the four students involved.

However, Smith claimed that during the process of the UJC trial his constitutionally protected due process rights were violated. Smith, Tigrett and Kintz then brought two federal lawsuits against the University.

On October 2000 a jury found that the University was not at fault in the Smith case. A federal judge also dismissed the Tigrett and Kintz lawsuit.

Kory's mother said she was happy to finally end this most recent trial.

"I'm very proud of him," said Kaye Kory in an interview with The Daily Progress. "He knew this would be very painful"