CNN) — A jury in Christiansburg, Virginia, decided Wednesday in favor of two families of victims in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting who had accused the school of negligence.
The seven-member jury awarded $4 million to each of the families, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office said. In suing the state, the families’ lawyers had argued the school should have notified the student body sooner after learning that two other students had been found dead in a West Ambler Johnston dormitory room on the morning of April 16, 2007.
Seung-Hui Cho went on to kill 30 other people, including the two victims whose families sued — Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde — before killing himself. Peterson died while in her French class; Pryde was pursuing a master’s degree in biological systems engineering.
“Vindication has finally come,” said Suzanne Grimes, whose son Kevin Sterne was among the wounded at Virginia Tech. “This is about them being accountable,” she said in a telephone interview from Florida. “This will ensure the safety of students in the future.”
A lawyer for the state asked the judge to reduce the verdict to $100,000 per claim against the commonwealth, noting that amount represents the maximum allowed under the law. Also by law, the jury did not learn of the cap until after it rendered its decision.