HOLLIDAYSBURG - A Hollidaysburg woman wounded by Nicholas A. Horner during his 2009 robbery of the 58th Street Subway has sued Horner and his parents, who allegedly gave him the gun he used during the shooting.
Michele Petty was working at Subway on April 6, 2009, when Horner, an Army veteran, came into the sandwich shop through a back door. Horner shot and killed one worker, Scott Garlick, 19, a senior at Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School, and when Petty appeared, he shot her in the hip area.
During his attempt to get away, he shot and killed Raymond Williams, 64, who was getting his mail in the parking lot of his apartment complex two blocks from Subway.
Petty, 36, and her husband, Gerald A. Petty Jr., filed the lawsuit last week in Blair County Court against Horner and his parents, Daniel E. and Karen A. Horner, who live in Johnstown.
The lawsuit asks for more than $50,000 in damages on each of four counts.
The Horners permitted their son to carry a .45-caliber handgun registered to his father, according to the lawsuit filed by Hollidaysburg attorney Joseph J. Nypaver.
"A registered gun owner of a handgun must never needlessly endanger the public. [...] A registered gun owner of a handgun must never needlessly endanger the public by allowing a person to continue possession of their handgun when they know or have reason to know the person is not competent to possess a handgun," the lawsuit stated.
A gun owner must not allow an "incompetent and mentally incapacitated person to possess a handgun," court documents state.
Defense attorney Thomas Dickey tried to convince a jury that Horner suffered from drug delirium because of the many medications he was taking. President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva refused to allow Dickey to use an insanity defense.
Horner is serving consecutive life terms plus 29 to 59 years on two counts of first-degree murder and other charges at the State Correctional Institution at Albion. The sentence and conviction have been appealed to state Superior Court.
The Horners are represented by Altoona attorney John W. Heslop Jr. Heslop and Nypaver were unavailable for comment Friday.
The defense in the three-week trial contended that Horner was suffering from a series of mental problems the day of the shooting including post-traumatic stress disorder stemming was his experiences during three tours in Iraq.
For a substantial period of time, Horner himself claimed he was suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression and "a propensity to engage in irrational and violent behavior, rendering him incapable of sound judgment and behavior," the lawsuit stated.
Notices were given in 2011 of similar lawsuits from Garlick's and Williams' families, but court records show they have not yet been filed.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.