Linley Jones Obtains $5.2 Million Verdict for Wrongful Death

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The daughters of a woman killed by her live-in boyfriend, who later took his own life, have been awarded a $5.2 million default judgment against the man’s estate following a daylong bench trial in Monroe County.

Atlanta sole practitioner Linley Jones said Christina Reeves, 44, had tried to escape an abusive relationship with Tim George Meza, 52, but had returned to the mobile home they shared near High Falls State Park, where she was shot and killed.

According to news accounts, a family friend found Reeves’ body on Sept. 24,2009, and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department investigators later found Meza’s body locked’in a closet, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Reeves and Meza had been together for more than 15 years, said Jones.

“She was a longstanding victim of domestic violence; he had allegedly shot her in the leg five or six months earlier,” said Jones.”She had moved into Haven House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, before he lured her back with promises of marriage and an engagement ring.”

Family members said Meza apparently thought he could avoid criminal charges from the earlier assault if Reeves dropped the charges.

“Once he found out he would still be looking at significant prison time no matter what she did,” said Jones, “he is believed to have shot her.”

Jones said investigators believed Reeves may have been dead for some time before Meza committed suicide.

On Nov. 25, Jones filed suit in Monroe County Superior Court on behalf of Reeves’ 25-year-old daughter, Krista Ann Holmes; Reeves and Meza had a daughter, 13, who was represented by a guardian ad litem and is also a beneficiary of the judgment.

Meza’s estate is in the hands of his mother, Genevieve N. Meza, and brother, Ted Meza, but neither responded to the suit, and Jones said she has had “no interaction” with them.

There was no answer at one telephone number listed for Genevieve and Ted Meza, who apparently share a Jackson, Ga., address; a second number has been disconnected.

On Aug. 9, Monroe County Superior  Court Judge Thomas H. Wilson held a one day bench trial, after which he ordered the estate liable for almost $5 3 million, including $3 7 million for the intangible value of the loss of the woman’s life.

Jones said she expects to collect on the judgment.

“There is a massive estate,” she said. “They were living on a very large amount of acreage that had come to Tim Meza as an inheritance.

“I do feel like the amount of the judgment was a vindication for a victim of domestic violence whose family had not been able to get any vindication during her lifetime,” said Jones. “Now the perpetrator is deceased, but there’s some justice for them.”

Even so, she said, “property is poor consolation for the loss of a mother.”

The case is Holmes v. the estate of Tim George Meza, No. 2009CV1084.