A deadly January 2009 Birmingham car accident caused by three fleeing burglary suspects has lead to the 19 year old driver being charged as an adult. According to the Birmingham News, a Jefferson County, Alabama court has ruled that Brandon Pauldin, (19) will be charged as an adult. Pauldin along with two others have been charged with intentional murder and various burglary charges. The trio was spotted burglarizing a home and when they attempted to flee their car was involved in a serious car wreck with Keith Shoemaker who was tragically killed in the accident.
In addition to criminal charges, Pauldin and the others would also be civilly liable under Alabama’s wrongful death statute. Under the wrongful death statute, punitive damages would be awarded to punish Pauldin and the others for their conduct and to send a message to deter others from similar conduct. Unlike most states wrongful death statutes, Alabama’s wrongful death statute does not provide for a compensatory damages award.