Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Worst Psychic Ever Loses Lawsuit

Spoiler: Nope!

Remember the 2011 story of the Texas psychic who filed a bogus tip with police about the bodies of murder victims buried on a property outside Houston? After the story was picked up by the media the couple who owned the property were treated as potential child murderers. Once it became clear that the "psychic" was completely and utterly wrong and no criminal activity had taken place there, they sued for defamation and won. A judge has now ordered the psychic to pay a $7 million judgment. A better psychic presumably would have seen this coming a mile away when first targeting this couple.

Instead, she labeled them as mass murderers — falsely, as it turns out — and now a judge has ordered her to pay them $7 million for defamation, reports the Houston Chronicle. The strange case began in 2011 when Presley "Rhonda" Gridley called police to say that she had a vision of a mass grave on the property of Joe Bankston and Gena Charlton.

At the time, police were looking for some missing kids in a high-profile Amber Alert case, notes Houston.culturemap. When the psychic told them the kids could be found in the alleged mass grave, cops acted on the tip and mounted a search. The media got wind of it and, voila, Bankston and Charlton were in the news as potential child-killers.

When I put up the original story, some commenters thought that Gridley might have honestly believed what she was reporting. I find it strange, though, that apparently police took her accusation seriously in the first place because she seemed to know particular details about the property. This suggests that there may have been some personal connection between her and this couple that prompted her to level an accusation against them. The facts of the civil case have not been reported, but if this was in fact a willful attempt at defamation that might explain why the judgment leveled was so high.

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