The City of Camden, New Jersey, has agreed to compensate the family of Christine Eberle $1.85 million as a result of the negligence of thier 9-1-1 dispatcher. The case settled several days before trial was to begin in Camden County. A mediator, retired Superior Court Judge Charles Pevite was able to get both sides to agree on the settlement. The family wanted more and the City wanted to pay less.
The tragedy begain in November of 2001 when Christine, then 26, was returning home from her job at an investment company in Philadelphia. She rode the train to Camden and got off at the Ferry Avenue station. Two men abducted her and eventually beat and strangled her to death. An eyewitness immediately called 911 when he saw what was happening, however, the 911 opeator, Marie Cupparo, said that it sounded like a domestic dispute and never entered the call into the computer. Had she done her job as she was required to do, a police car one block away would have responded with lights and sirens and the killers would have fled. In addition, all other police cars in Camden and adjoining towns would have responded.
The case was initially dismissed on legal grounds when Superior Court Charles Little determined that the 911 operator and the City were immune for their negligence. A unanimous Appellate Court disagreed and restored the case to the trial list. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied Camden’s application for further review.
Christine is survived by her parents Charles and Linda Reis, a sister Mandy, 22, and a brother CJ. 19. A memorial park in her honor has been established called the Shining Star Park, and portions of the proceeds of the case will go to fund scholarhips in Christine’s name. The killers were caught, plead guilty, and are serving 45 year prison terms pursuant to a plea bargain with the Camden County Prosecutor.
Christine’s family was represented by Michael A. Ferrara, Jr, and Andrew Rossetti, both of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.