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Md. judge slashes award in prison bus slaying

Tuesday - 5/29/2012, 2:42pm  ET

BALTIMORE - A judge in Baltimore has sharply reduced the damages awarded in the death of a state prison inmate who was murdered aboard a prison bus in 2005.

In a decision released Tuesday, Baltimore City Circuit Judge Sylvester Cox slashed the jury award to Philip Parker Jr.'s parents and estate from $18.5 million to $600,000.

Cox ruled that the Maryland Tort Claims Act limits the state's liability to $200,000 per claimant. He found that Parker's mother Melissa Rodriguez, father Philip Parker Sr. and Parker's estate were each entitled to the maximum amount.

Inmate Kevin Johns was convicted of strangling and cutting Parker as the bus traveled on Interstate 70 from Hagerstown to Baltimore.

Cox ruled that four officers initially found negligent or grossly negligent were shielded from liability as public officials.


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