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Confidential Settlement Reached In Case Over Kansas City Lawyer’s Killing

A Jackson County judge has approved a confidential settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the wife and parents of slain lawyer Thomas Pickert against a trust established by his alleged killer.

Judge Kevin Harrell approved the settlement with the Jungerman Family Irrevocable Trust, which was set up by David Jungerman, who is charged with first-degree murder in Pickert's October 2017 killing. Jungerman is in jail awaiting trial.

Jungerman, 82, was not a party to the settlement, nor was his company, Baby Tenda Corp., a Kansas City-based maker of cribs and toddler tables. The wrongful death claims against them are still pending.

Jungerman’s daughter, Angelia Buesing, signed off on the settlement as the trustee of Jungerman's trust. Buesing and her lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Although the amount of the settlement is unknown, Harrell last year fined Jungerman, the trust and other defendants $25,000 a week for failing to turn over documents and other information to Pickert’s family. Those fines added up to $1.3 million, which Harrell ordered to be applied to the settlement.

Jungerman, who has hired and fired a passel of lawyers, sought to block the settlement at every turn. In his order, Harrell noted that during the course of the case, Pickert’s family had been forced to prosecute or defend numerous appeals, writs and motions, as well attempts to remove the receivers Harrell appointed to oversee Jungerman’s estate, which is worth more than $30 million.

Prosecutors allege Jungerman gunned down Pickert in front of his Brookside home on Oct. 25, 2017, after Pickert dropped off his two young sons at school. Just weeks earlier, Pickert had obtained a $5.75 million verdict against Jungerman on behalf of a homeless man, Jeffrey Harris, whom Jungerman shot while Harris was trespassing on Baby Tenda Corp.’s property. Harris’ leg had to be amputated above the knee.

In addition to the claims brought by Pickert’s family, Jungerman’s estate is also facing claims for the $5.75 million verdict and an unrelated claim by Justin Baker, another person Jungerman allegedly shot after he found him on Baby Tenda's property.

The wrongful death case was filed by Pickert’s widow, Emily Riegel, and his parents, Allan and Joann Pickert.

The settlement was reached after months of negotiations and provides for the purchase of annuities to pay Pickert’s sons after they reach the age of 18.

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Dan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Kansas City with his family when he was eight years old. He majored in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and holds law and journalism degrees from Boston University. He has been an avid public radio listener for as long as he can remember – which these days isn’t very long… Dan has been a two-time finalist in The Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, and has won multiple regional awards for his legal and health care coverage. Dan doesn't have any hobbies as such, but devours one to three books a week, assiduously works The New York Times Crossword puzzle Thursdays through Sundays and, for physical exercise, tries to get in a couple of rounds of racquetball per week.