The Papers, Inc., Stacey Page dropped from Helman Suit

Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed dropped two parties from a wrongful death lawsuit in a case involving a fatal shootout in Cromwell.

The Papers, Inc. and Stacey Staley, also known as Stacey Page, were dropped from the suit Monday.

Barnett Bail Bonds and three of its bond recovery agents, Tadd Martin, Daniel Foster and Michael Thomas, are still named in the suit.

Reed wrote that in reviewing the law and holding a hearing on the matter, “There exists no claim in which relief can be granted.”

The suit results from an incident in 2014, when the bond recovery agents shot and killed fugitive Gary Helman after attempting to apprehend him at his mother’s house in Cromwell. Helman’s brother, Larry, and Martin also were injured in the gunfight.

Atta Belle Helman, Gary’s mother, and Larry Helman filed the suit seeking unspecified damages for wrongful death, Larry’s medical bills and other claims. The suit added Staley and The Papers, alleging that Staley conspired with the bond recovery agents to create a dangerous situation.

During oral arguments Nov. 29, Phillip Kalamaros, attorney for The Papers, argued that the case didn’t have enough merit to show that Staley and The Papers did anything wrong. “This is an insufficient claim,” he said. “A reporter providing information is not wrong.”

Bradley Colborn, attorney for the Helmans, said it’s not uncommon for a judge to dismiss the case at this point. It just gives the Helmans the chance to refile the motion, with more specific information, he said.

Colborn said he intends to refile the case against The Papers, Inc. and Staley. A similar case is still pending in federal court.