Sebring murder victim’s family wins $700M verdict, doesn’t expect to see money

Highlands County

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – For Blair Doty, the verdict handed down Monday isn’t about the money. It’s about justice.

“As we’ve gone through this journey as a community, they’ve really stepped up as human beings and restored a lot of things we were starting to feel was lacking in humanity,” she told 8 On Your Side Thursday.

A six-person jury sent a verdict the family’s way. It also sent a message.

“It was never about the money. So, it wasn’t anything that made us side-eye. It was symbolic,” she said.

Aaron Doty was beaten by Kenneth Felipe and Jonathan Rodriguez at a house party in Sebring in 2012. He was unconscious when investigators said they poured gasoline on his body and set him on fire.

The 20-year-old died. The men were convicted of his death in 2015.

Then, last year, the Doty family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against them.

“It definitely brought us a sense of relief. But at the same time, it finished and solidified things for us,” the victim’s sister said.

As for the whopping $700 million verdict? The family understands they won’t see much of anything.

“Both of them have life in prison without parole. There’s no lottery tickets to be bought. There’s no job they’re gonna be working,” she said.

Her hope is they realize what they’ve done and reflect on their past actions.

“I wish them nothing but the best. I believe myself in the Lord so it’s not my place to judge them as human beings,” Blair Doty said.

Scott Leeds, one of the attorneys who represented the family, released the following statement:

“We are pleased with this jury’s decision to honor the memory of Aaron Doty and hold the men who killed him civilly responsible for their actions.  While there is no amount of money that can bring back their son, the Doty family is incredibly appreciative of the message this jury sent.”

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