By The Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A Jefferson County court erred when it ruled the city of Birmingham should have to pay benefits to relatives of a city worker who was shot to death while cutting grass, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled Friday.
The five-member court, in an unsigned opinion, overturned a decision in favor of Keishana Jenkins and her three children, who were listed as the survivors of Grady Jenkins, who worked for the city’s horticulture department.
Jenkins, 51, was at work on Nov. 1, 2017, when he was found shot to death atop a riding lawn mower while cutting an overgrown lot that was being cleaned up by the city in a high-crime area, the decision said. No one was arrested and the killing remains unsolved.
A claim for workers compensation benefits was denied by an outside administrator who ruled Jenkins’ killing didn’t arise from his work as a city laborer, so Keishana Jenkins filed suit. A judge ruled in favor of the family without a trial, and the city appealed.
The appeals court ruled the lower court was mistaken to side with Jenkins’ survivors since there were unanswered questions about who killed him and why. The decision sends the case back to a county judge for more work.