Wife of murder victim sues management for unsafe apartments

Jarvis Mayfield was shot to death two years ago at the Prince Hall Village Apartments in Port Arthur, a murder still unsolved by the Port Arthur Police Department. But although the killer of her husband is still at large, Geneva Mayfield is turning to the courts to hold someone accountable for Jarvis' death. Representing the estate of her late husband, Geneva Mayfield filed suit against the owners of the apartment complex, J. Allen Management Co., on Sept. 28 in Jefferson County District Court. According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Oct. 26, 2005, Mayfield was repairing his vehicle in the parking lot of the Prince Hall Village Apartments, when he was attacked and shot. "(He) died from injuries he sustained from multiple gunshot wounds to his person. "Plaintiff was visiting a (Prince Hall) resident�at the time of incident occurred," the suit said. "The J. Allen Management Co. owed and voluntarily assumed the duty to provide Plaintiff a safe and secure place to visit, and had or assumed a duty to exercise reasonable care in executing such duties. Defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, and such failure was negligent and a proximate cause of the incident in question and resulting damages to Plaintiff." The suit goes on to accuse the J. Allen Management Co. with the following acts of negligence: - Failure to take reasonable steps to protect Plaintiff from foreseeable criminal activity on the apartment complex premises; - Failure to carry out security precautions as a reasonably prudent owner and/or management entity would have done under the same or similar circumstances; - Failing to properly light the parking lot; - And in committing other legal violations at both common and statutory law to be detailed at the time of trial. "Defendants know, or should have known, of criminal conduct and activities creating a dangerous condition upon their property," the suit said. "Defendants are liable to Plaintiff for the physical and mental harm caused by the dangerous conditions on Defendants' premises." The plaintiff is suing for mental anguish, loss of income and pecuniary loss. She is represented by Richard Plezia of the Plezia, McLemore, Reddell, Ardoin & Story law firm. According to the firm's Web site, Richard J. Plezia is a partner in the firm Plezia, McLemore, Reddell, Ardoin & Story, which has offices in Houston and Corpus Christi. Plezia has experience in civil trials at the state and federal level and The firm has its offices in Houston and Corpus Christi. Mr. Plezia has specialized in the trial of civil cases at both the federal and state level. He has focused on representing plaintiffs in civil litigation including wrongful death and catastrophic personal injuries. The Port Arthur News reported in June that Mayfield's murder is one of five "cold case" unsolved killings that the Port Arthur police have reopened for renewed investigation. Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case. Case No. A180-418

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