Status conference set in Venezia wrongful death suit

Amelia Flood Aug. 5, 2010, 1:54am


A status conference is set in a wrongful death suit filed the parents of a woman murdered by a convicted racketeer.

Plaintiffs Cynthia and Michael Anderson are suing the estate of Thomas Venezia and Robert Staack for the wrongful death of their daughter, Jennifer Anderson, who was killed by a gun shot wound to the back of the head in the home she shared with Venezia in Belleville in July 2005.

The Andersons alleged that Staack negligently entrusted the gun used to kill their daughter to Venezia, who they claim suffered from depression and poor health. Venezia shot himself, then Jennifer Anderson, according to Belleville Police.

The defendants have yet to be served in the 2007 suit and have not filed appearances.

The status conference is set for Aug. 17 at 9:30 a.m.

The hearing is the first in the case since presiding judge, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young, clarified an order he signed last year ordering the Andersons' attorney, James Schottel Jr. of St. Louis, to return the couple's $1,600 retainer as a condition of his withdrawal from the suit.

Schottel contested the requirement several times, at one point filing for permission to seek a writ of mandamus from the Illinois Supreme Court.

That writ, had permission been granted, would have required Young to overturn his order demanding the money's return.

The Supreme Court did not grant Schottel's request.

Young held a hearing to clarify the return of the retainer June 30.

Schottel returned the money following the hearing.

There have been no additional filings since the last hearing in the case June 30.

William Berry is local counsel for the Andersons.

The case is St. Clair case number 07-0L-359.

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