Vermont Lawsuit Says Ex-Wife of Murder Suspect Negligent

The father of a slain Braintree, Vermont, girl is accusing the suspect’s ex-wife of playing a role in her death by not protecting her.

The Vermont Supreme Court heard an appeal from James Bennett on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Bennett says he continues to suffer severe mental anguish over the death of his daughter, 12-year-old Brooke Bennett. Michael Jacques, a convicted sex offender, is charged with abducting, sexually assaulting and then killing his niece in 2008.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Bennett alleges that Denise Woodard breached her duty to protect Brooke from the risk of harm posed by Jacques, her ex-husband.

The court will consider whether the home insurance policy of Woodard and Jacques covers Woodard’s defense and damages to Bennett if he were to win the lawsuit.

A lower court had ruled in favor of the insurer.