The wife and mother of two men killed in a 2009 fire in Northampton, Massachusetts has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against alleged arsonist Anthony Baye. 77-year-old Elaine Yeskie filed the lawsuit this week in Hampshire Superior Court. It alleges that Baye’s “malicious” conduct caused the deaths of Yeskie’s husband and son. State law allows Yeskie to file the suit within three years of their deaths.
Springfield-based attorney Don Frank says he expects the Northwestern District Attorney will ask Yeskie to delay the lawsuit proceedings until after Baye’s criminal trial, which is set to begin in May of next year.
Frank says if Yeskie chooses to go forward with the lawsuit, and if the suit is successful, it’s unlikely she will recover much money from Baye.
“And, of course, if he’s convicted of murder, I think it highly unlikely that they’ll ever have anything because murder, in the first degree anyway, holds life without parole, and there would be no assets ever for them to collect on.”
But, Frank says, if the lawsuit is judged in Yeskie’s favor, it will follow Baye indefinitely.
“As we know from the O.J. Simpson case, that judgment can follow Mr. Baye forever, for his entire life, and if he ever does come in to money, I suppose it does have some value then.”
Baye is charged with two counts of murder, twenty-eight counts of arson, and twelve other charges. An earlier round of charges against Baye was dropped in July, after the state Supreme Judicial Court threw out his alleged confession due to problematic interrogation tactics by state police. Baye was re-arraigned on his current charges eight days later.