SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI – A jury in Greene County, Missouri, awarded a $50 million verdict to the mother of MacKenna Milhon after a one-day trial for a wrongful death suit. Milhon, 19, was tragically stabbed to death by Lonnie Williams in December of 2019. In 2021, Williams was convicted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, resulting in a life sentence without parole, as well as an additional 100 years in prison. The civil trial took place in Judge Derek Ankrom’s courtroom, with Williams participating via video from prison.
The attorney representing MacKenna’s mother, Rachel Crook, in the civil proceedings, is Amanda Johnson from Donelan Law in Springfield. The astounding $50 million verdict, according to Johnson, was based on the pain and suffering Milhon experienced before her death.
Evidence presented at the civil trial included testimony from investigators as well as the Greene County Medical Examiner, Dieter Duff. Dr. Duff revealed that Milhon had suffered 11 sharp force injuries, with eight of them being to the bone. It was also revealed that the weapon used by Williams had its tip broken off and was found lodged in Milhon’s spine.
In an emotional testimony, Milhon’s mother shared stories of her daughter’s kindness and compassion towards others, which painted a vivid picture of the vibrant life that was taken away too soon. The civil judgment’s primary goal is to provide relief for Crook from Missouri’s Tort Victim Compensation Fund, and not necessarily to receive the full amount from the perpetrator.
The civil trial was an emotional and challenging process for Crook, who wanted to ensure that the jury heard about the wonderful person her daughter was. While the monetary award is unlikely to be fully collected, the judgment serves as a tool of justice in the community and a chance for the grieving mother to seek some form of justice for her daughter’s tragic death.
The trial also shed light on the violent nature of Milhon’s death and the impact it has had on her family and community. It served as a platform for her mother to share the incredible life Milhon lived and the dreams and aspirations she had before her untimely death. The jury’s verdict affirms the merits of the case and emphasizes the importance of upholding justice in the community.