Teen sues stepmom over father's memorial fund

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TACOMA, Wash. —

When he was just 14 years old, Jimmy Sanders saw his father murdered in front of him in a Craigslist deal gone bad.

 

Jimmy was home with his father, Jim Sanders, and stepmother, Charlene Sanders, when four people robbed them of a diamond ring that was advertised on Craigslist.

 

Jimmy tried to protect his dad, but his father was shot and killed while Jimmy watched.

 

Two-and-a-half years later, Jim's murderers have been convicted. The family, however, is not at peace.

 

"I suffer from PTSD and I don't have counseling, or enough of it," Jimmy said.

 

Jimmy says his stepmother has kept all of the money donated to a memorial fund for Jim Sanders. All Charlene gave him, he says, was his father's T-shirt, ball cap and some photos. 

 

Now, Jimmy and his mother, Pam Knoll, are taking legal action against Charlene Sanders.  They believe Jimmy should get half of the donations.

 

"I just wanna know I'm taken care of for college and a new car, a wedding maybe when I get older," Jimmy said.

 

According to court documents, Charlene believes Knoll wants the money for herself.  The documents also show that Charlene argues that Knoll harrassed her and caused her emotional distress.

 

Charlene's attorney issued the following statement on her behalf:

“Shortly after her husband’s death, one of Charlene Sanders’ co-workers organized a fund raiser for Charlene, to assist her with her living expenses.   A trust document for the fund establishes Charlene as sole beneficiary of the fund.   A relatively modest amount was raised, and to this date Charlene has only used the fund as necessary to offset loss of her husband’s income.  There is only a small balance remaining in the fund at this time.  To the extent that Jim’s ex-wife disputes the handling of these funds, she has unfortunately elected to file a lawsuit over the matter and resolution of her dispute will therefore be handled by the court system.”