Originally created 09/23/99

Grocery store settles kidnapping lawsuit



ATHENS, Ga. -- Lawyers for a woman kidnapped from a Kroger supermarket parking lot and raped have reached a settlement in a lawsuit she filed against the grocery chain.

The settlement came as testimony ended in the second day of trial in Clarke County Superior Court.

The case was settled "to everyone's satisfaction," but terms of the settlement are confidential, said Ed Tolley, one of the lawyers for the woman.

The victim, a 23-year-old Athens restaurant manager at the time, was kidnapped at knife-point by three men as she walked to her car in the parking lot of a Kroger store late one July night in 1994.

Her lawyers argued that Kroger was partly to blame for her attack, saying the company failed to keep its premises safe, failed to provide adequate security and allowed dangerous conditions to exist in the parking lot. The lawyers sought unspecified damages.

After taking the woman from the parking lot, the men drove her to Morgan County, where all three raped her. One of them, Reginald Glenn Campbell of Morgan County, now 28, went home after the first rape and asked his girlfriend to call police.

The other two, Randolph Scott Dillard, 29, and Jahmal Bolden, 22, both of Athens, forced her to drive with them to St. Petersburg, Fla., before eventually releasing her.

All three were convicted of rape, kidnapping and other felony charges in 1995 and are serving life sentences.

Six other crimes were committed in that same parking lot between Oct. 17, 1988, when a woman was robbed at knife-point, and July 13, 1994, when the rape victim who sued Kroger was abducted, said Gilbert Dietch of Atlanta, another of the woman's lawyers.

Five of those previous parking-lot crimes were directed at customers, and a Kroger employee was the victim in another, he said. Several involved violence, including a beating with a billy stick and a threat using a tire iron, he told a Clarke County jury Monday as the trial opened.

But only one of the incidents -- the beating -- was reported to Kroger's risk management division in Atlanta, according to testimony by a Kroger security expert.