Which is why Crime Victims United (CVU) and The Law Office of Nina Salarno Besselman are supporting the family of murder victim Missy Avila ( The Michele “Missy” Avila Page) in announcing their lawsuit and groundbreaking legislation to prevent Missy’s murderer from profiting off of her heinous crime.
On October 1, 1985 Karen Severson was convicted of murder after she assaulted, battered, tortured, disfigured, maimed and murdered her so-called friend, Michele “Missy” Avila, in the Angeles Crest National Forest, near the City of Los Angeles.
On July 27, 1988, Missy’s murderer was arrested and sentenced to second degree murder in violation of penal code 187. She was sentenced to serve fifteen years to life on January 31, 1990.
The lawsuit, brought forth by the family of Missy Avila, states that the defendant was released on December 9, 2011 and went on to author and release two accounts of her murder of Missy in the form of two novels that were sold for profit. A movie based on the murder of Missy from the defendant’s point of view is also included in the lawsuit.
The Avila family is seeking causes for action due to intentional infliction of emotional stress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and defamation, libel and slander due to the defendant’s depiction of Missy and Missy’s family in her publications. Marsy’s Law is also being utilized to seek restitution and reparation.
Nina Salarno Besselman, the Avila family’s lawyer, and Harriet Salarno, president of CVU, traveled to the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse Tuesday to stand with Missy’s family in an effort to protect her good name, reputation and her loved one’s memories of her from being destroyed.
“We are not interested in punishing the defendants in this case, instead we are acting in defense of Missy, who lost her life at this woman’s hands and whose reputation and memory is now being threatened,” said Besselman. “We encourage our friends, followers and supporters to do the same.”
In addition to the lawsuit, Crime Victims United of California has sponsored legislation to help curb the revictimization of victims of violent crime. AB 538 (Actions for damages: felony offenses) and 540 (Restitution: entertainment profits), introduced by Assembly Member Nora Campos, will further assist victims and their families in protecting their rights and reputations.
“It is important for us in California to be vocal about ensuring rights for victims when a criminal seeks to profit off of their crimes,” said Besselman.