The mother of a former Hometown woman who was found shot to death in her Chicago Heights home two years ago this month has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her daughter’s accused killer boyfriend.
Catherine Peters filed the lawsuit on behalf of her daughter, Michele Peters, in Cook County Circuit Court on March 12, Fox News Chicago reported.
Michele Peters’ boyfriend, George Kleopa, was charged with her murder in July 2012. Peters, 30, was found with a gunshot wound to the face in the Chicago Heights’ home that she shared with Kleopa and the couple’s two young sons.
Catherine Peters maintains that Kleopa told police different versions of how her daughter came to be shot, claiming she committed suicide or that the gun went off accidentally when the couple was arguing the night of March 6, 2012.
The slain woman’s family and friends cast her as a victim of domestic abuse, and that she was preparing to leave Kleopa and taking their two sons at the time of her death.
Kleopa has maintained his innocence and is currently free on $200,000 bond. Peters said that he recently fired his attorney and has hired a new lawyer to defend him in the murder case.
Catherine Peters has since been trying to get visitation rights to see her grandsons, who live in California with Kleopa’s sister.
“The kids will get the money,” Peters said of her grandsons. “His house is in foreclosure. He may have rich relatives but even if I do win, my attorney tells me it would be hard to collect a settlement from him.”
A neighbor told Chicago Heights police that he heard the couple arguing the night of the shooting. Later, Kleopa called 911 to report that Michele Peters shot herself, prosecutors have claimed.
Chicago Heights police held her daughter’s 32-year-old boyfriend for 48 hours. Kleopa told investigators that he asked Michele to bring him his gun to clean it, when it accidentally discharged. He changed his story again stating the Michele was handling the gun when it went off, according to court records.
Kleopa was arrested on his 33rd birthday and charged with six counts of murder on July 26, 2012.
The three-count lawsuit against Kleopa is asking for over $150,000 in damages, Fox News Chicago reported.
Kleopa is due back in court in Markham on April 28.
Catherine Peters told Patch that prosecutors say it might be years before Kleopa is brought to trial, which they anticipate will have high news media interest.
A legal fund has been set up to help pay for Catherine Peters' legal costs to gain grandparent visitation rights to see her daughter's sons, George, now 9, and Alex, 3. Donations and checks can be made payable to "Miracles for Michele," at any Archer bank.