Brother of Wisconsin Paramedic Not Liable in Girlfriend's Fire Station Death

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The brother of a paramedic who fatally shot his ex-girlfriend can't be held liable for the woman's death even though he failed to warn her that his brother said he wanted to kill her, a state appeals court ruled.

David Beck, 39, was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in the January 2001 shooting death of Kimberly Paswaters, 34, a fellow paramedic with the Campbellsport Fire Department. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Paswaters died after meeting with Harold Beck at the fire station to discuss her troubled relationship with his brother. David Beck was eavesdropping on the conversation and ran down from his hiding place and began firing at Paswaters.

Her four children sued Harold Beck for allowing his brother to listen without warning Paswaters that David Beck told him he wanted to ``take care of business'' by killing her and himself.

But the 2nd District Court of Appeals said Wednesday that while Harold Beck was negligent, he was ``merely attempting to resolve a dispute between David and Kim'' and could not have anticipated the meeting would end in violence.

``Good social policy does not allow us to impose liability on individuals who fail to predict erratic and irrational human behavior,'' the appeals court said in upholding a decision by Fond du Lac County Circuit Judge Robert Wirtz to dismiss the lawsuit.