A self-described psychic who triggered a media frenzy when she told authorities a Liberty County [Texas] couple had a mass grave on their property has been ordered to pay the couple $6.8 million. A Dallas County judge issued the judgment May 7 against Presley "Rhonda" Gridley, the sole remaining defendant in a lawsuit filed a year ago. Gridley, 50, failed to appear in court May 7 for the bench trial before Judge Carl Ginsberg in the 193rd State District Court, records stated.
Ginsberg found that Gridley had made defamatory statements about Bankson and Charlton on June 6, 2011, when she volunteered false information to the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, claiming that a mass grave containing dismembered bodies was at the plaintiffs' home. The defendant's false statement injured the plaintiffs' reputation and exposed them to public hatred, contempt, ridicule and financial injury, the complaint stated. For damages suffered, the judge awarded $3 million in damages to Bankson and $3,849,000 to Charlton, plus 5 percent interest from the date of the occurrence in 2011.
The suit was filed June 5, 2012, almost exactly a year after the alleged incident took place.
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