Parents to get $550,000 for son's fatal shooting by Laurel deputy

The parents of a man shot to death in 2009 by a Laurel County sheriff's deputy will get $550,000 to settle a federal lawsuit, attorneys said.

The case involved the June 26, 2009, death of James Ernest Goforth. Deputy Richard Sapcut tried to pull over Goforth's vehicle for a traffic violation that day, according to the lawsuit.

Police initially said Goforth, 35, fled from Sapcut, but his car got stuck on a rural road.

Sapcut said Goforth jumped out of the car and faced him with a gun from a few feet away, but evidence showed Goforth was shot in the back from at least 72 feet away, said Liddell Vaughn, a Louisville attorney who represents Goforth's parents in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said Goforth was running away when he was shot.

Police did not find a gun at the scene of the shooting, Vaughn said. Investigators did find a knife near where Goforth fell, but DNA tests did not prove it was his, Vaughn said.

James and Peggy Goforth filed the lawsuit against Sapcut, Sheriff Fred Yaden, his office and the county.

The defendants did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, said their attorney, Randall S. May.

The county's insurer will pay the settlement, attorneys said.

Police presented evidence about the shooting to a grand jury, which did not indict Sapcut.

However, Vaughn said he thinks the lawsuit turned up new information a grand jury could consider.