Families of Aurora theater shooting victims seek nearly $1 million in restitution

Victims paid more than $100,000 out-of-pocket

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - The Aurora theater shooter may be ordered to pay back nearly $1 million in restitution.

District Attorney George Brauchler has provided the judge a final dollar amount of money paid out-of-pocket by victims and money paid by a victim's compensation fund.

Full coverage: Aurora theater shooting

According to documents submitted to the court on Tuesday, victims have paid at least $103,385.95 out-of-pocket. The Crime Victim Compensation Fund has paid out $851,493 in support of victim needs.

Prosecutors are seeking a judgment for the shooter to repay at least $954,878.95.

"It's important that we, as a community, hold defendants accountable," said prosecutor Lisa Teesch-Maguire. "For a crime of this magnitude, frankly us, seeking just less than a million dollars in restitution, is really not an exorbitant amount of restitution."

Prosecutors submitted a spreadsheet to Judge Carlos Samour detailing the amounts victims are seeking reimbursement. The names are blacked out in the version posted online, but not the amounts and reasons.

One victim is seeking $2,000 for a prosthetic leg replacement. The Crime Victim Compensation Fund allowed for $20,000 per victim, but did not cover all of this victim's needs.

"$20,000 doesn't cover one day of most of these people's medical bills," said Teesch-Maguire. "The fund pays for funeral expenses, medical expenses, mental health treatment, lost wages due to inability to work due to an injury or the loss of a loved one."

Teesch-Maguire has spoken with 1,251 different victims in this case. One of them is seeking $4,200 for having to pay six months of rent after his roommate was one of the 12 killed in the theater.

Another murdered victim's family is seeking $5,500 for travel expenses to come to Colorado to attend the trial. A federal grant only provided two weeks worth of coverage to attend the trial.

"It paid for airfare, for hotel for them, rental car expenses and a $20 a day per diem," said Teesch-Maguire.

"There is no amount of money that can bring you back to the life that you once had," said Sandy Phillips, mom to killed victim Jessica Ghawi.

Phillips' claim is included in the spreadsheet, but does not yet have a dollar amount associated with what she'll seek from the shooter.

"I'm going to need to see a therapist and why should that come out of my income?" asked Phillips.

Judge Samour still has to approve the final restitution judgment.

"For those that say, 'Well, I thought we were finished with this, we were through with this,' this is a lifelong tragedy," said Phillips.

Prison inmates pay restitution out of their inmate account. A Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman confirmed with Denver7 that if the account has more than $2,000, 100 percent of any new money will go to restitution. If the account has less than $2,000, any money earned or deposited into the account will be divided with 80 percent going to the inmate account and 20 percent going to restitution.

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The Crime Victim Compensation Fund is a state account that receives money through fees paid by defendants. At the time of the shooting, victims could only seek up to $20,000 from that fund for reimbursements related to the shooting. That cap has since been increased to $30,000.

According to Teesch-Maguire, about two percent of all restitution is ever paid back. In this case, that would be about $19,000.

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