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Family of murder victim awarded $1.5 million
Housing Authority to pay after death of Erica Reed
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The family of murder victim Erica Reed was awarded $1.5 million last week in a civil suit brought against the Covington Housing Authority.

After deliberating for seven hours, the Superior Court jurors found in favor of the Reed family and awarded $750,000 for the full value of Erica Reed's life and $750,000 for pain and suffering.

Jurors announced their verdict after testimony from witnesses in which they contended that if her murderer, Willie Frank Gunn, had not been allowed to live there, Erica Reed would be alive today.

Reed, 20, was shot and killed by Gunn, 71, in 2006 while visiting her sister at the housing authority. Gunn, who was a housing authority tenant, had been convicted of murder in 1963. When he filled out paperwork to live at the apartment, he reportedly said he had never been arrested or convicted of any crime.

The housing authority requested a criminal history from authorities, as it does with all applicants, but Gunn's murder conviction would not have shown up on the Georgia Crime Information Center because the system began operating in 1973, a decade after Gunn's convictions.

The Reed family filed suit against the housing authority in early 2008. The family's attorney, Andy Rogers, said last year that the Reed family was simply looking for justice for Erica and her children, ages 5 and 6 who, he said, have been robbed of the "love, companionship and care of their mother."

Attorneys for the housing authority declined to comment on the verdict and attorneys for the Reed family did not return three phone calls.