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Suit names Legion as negligent in slaying

Jabron Totton
Eric J. Smith

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a local American Legion in connection with a fatal shooting in 2013.

Filed Wednesday in Allen Superior Court by Goldie Totton as the representative of Jabron Q. Totten, the lawsuit names Jabron Totton's killer, Eric J. Smith, and the Charles C. Anderson American Legion Post 148 as defendants.

On June 9, the 37-year-old Totton was gunned down in the parking lot of the American Legion at East Lewis and South Hanna streets by Smith, 36.

According to evidence and testimony presented at Smith's murder trial, Totton and another man were standing next to a car in the parking lot after the club closed. Smith approached them and asked whether they were talking about him.

When the man with Totton said "no," Smith walked around the car and asked Totton, who replied, "I love everybody like a brother." Smith pushed him, Totton put his hands up and Smith shot him.

The encounter was largely caught on surveillance video from cameras in the club and the parking lot.

Smith was convicted of murder and being a felon in unlawful possession of a handgun. He was sentenced to 90 years in prison and is serving time in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. His earliest possible release date is 2058, according to Indiana Department of Correction records.

According to the lawsuit, Totton left behind two young children and was employed at the time. Totton's representative accused the Legion post of failing to provide adequate safety and security to the guests, according to court document.

Totton's family is seeking damages, costs and attorney fees.

An American Legion Post 148 official was unavailable for comment Friday night.