Judge orders money in Chardon Healing Fund to remain frozen as shooting victims' parents testify

CHARDON, Ohio - A Geauga County judge ruled Friday that money from the Chardon Healing Fund will remain under court-protected authority until a final decision is made.

The decision came after a six-hour hearing stemming from a lawsuit brought about by the parents of three deceased victims in last year's school shooting at Chardon High. The parents are suing United Way of Geauga County, the administrator of the fund.

"What am I," asked Jeannie King, mother of Russell King, Jr. "I'm the mother of a child who is killed."

King and two other parents testified at the hearing arguing that they were misled about the allocation of money from the fund, which was established immediately after the shooting.

"My son isn't home at night," said Dina Parmertor, mother of Daniel Parmertor who also lost his life. "He's gone."

The parents filed the lawsuit claiming that they received a small fraction of the near $1 million raised, less than $150,000, and they needed more financial help than what they were given over the past year.

"I'm very sad and sorry that they feel that way," said Jenniffer Deckard, head of the 11-member board that oversees the Chardon Healing Fund.

Deckard testified that the board has stood by its original mission of assisting not only the families directly impacted by the tragedy, but the Chardon community too.

Money from the fund has paid for educational and mental health services for Chardon students.

Deckard added that the board never rejected the needs of the families and wasn't aware of the families' more recent financial situations.

$250,000 remains in the Chardon Healing Fund, which the board said is set to go to mental health services for the community and the parents of deceased children.

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