Loco Lawsuits: Untrustworthy Hostages

Audaciousness can occasionally be part of a criminal’s arsenal. Yet Jesse Dimmick’s brassiest act may have come while already serving a sentence for kidnapping.

Dimmick, a Denver area native, was one of two men sought in connection with a September 7, 2009, homicide in Aurora, Colo. Authorities arrested the other man but Dimmick remained at large. On September 12, Kansas police spotted Dimmick driving a stolen van and gave chase. The pursuit ended some 50 miles away in Dover, Kan., when tire spikes punctured the van’s tires. The van came to rest in the front yard of the home of newlyweds Jared and Lindsay Rowley.

Further evidencing his lack of judgment, Dimmick forced his way into the house and held the Rowleys captive at knifepoint for around two hours. Reflecting their acumen, the Rowleys calmed Dimmick and gained his trust by offering him a drink, snacks, pillows, and a blanket and reportedly telling him they wouldn’t call the police when he left. At some point Dimmick fell asleep while watching a movie (reportedly Patch Adams). The Rowleys immediately escaped and police surrounding the house stormed in. Dimmick suffered a bullet wound to this back while being subdued. In May 2010, a jury found Dimmick guilty of two counts of kidnapping and he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

With Dimmick behind bars, the Rowleys turned to the courts. In October 2011, they sued Dimmick for $76,000 for trespass, intrusion, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. This is where Dimmick’s gall came to the forefront. He countersued. In a handwritten claim submitted a month later, Dimmick wanted the Rowleys to pay him $160,000 for medical bills relating to being shot by police and another $75,000 for pain and suffering. His theory?

I, the defendant, asked the Rowleys to hide me because I feared for my life. I offered the Rowleys an unspecified amount of money which they agreed upon, therefore forging a legally binding oral contract.

Since no binding legal contract can be obtained at knifepoint, it’s not surprising a judge dismissed Dimmick’s claim in January 2012. Nor did Dimmick’s court experiences improve. In September 2012, a Kansas appeals court upheld his kidnapping convictions. Then in June 2013, he was sentenced to 37 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the Aurora homicide.

It isn’t against the law to be an idiot.

Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

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