Lawsuit filed in boys’ deaths

FONDA – A wrongful-death lawsuit filed in Montgomery County Court on behalf of the mothers of two murdered teens is seeking damages in excess of $25,000.

The suit, filed June 24 in Montgomery County Court, was filed on behalf of Sandra Damphier, the mother of 16-year-old Paul Damphier, and Bridget Masesie, mother of 13-year-old Jonathan DeJesus. Paul Damphier and DeJesus were murdered by Anthony Brasmeister and Matthew Phelps.

Named as defendants besides Brasmeister and Phelps are Timothy and Emily Brasmeister, parents of Anthony Brasmeister; Donna and Peter Phelps, grandparents of Matthew Phelps and Paul Korona, Emily Brasmeister’s boyfriend with whom she was living with at the time of the murders.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants failed to properly secure their firearms, leading to the deaths of Paul Damphier and DeJesus on July 9, 2012.

Anthony Brasmeister and Matthew Phelps – who were 16 and 15 years old at the time of murders – pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in April 2013. Anthony Brasmeister is currently serving a sentence of 25 years to life at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemore, Clinton County. Matthew Phelps is serving a sentence of 15 years to life and is in the custody of the state Office of Children and Family Services.

The lawsuit states Damphier and DeJesus were murdered with a Savage Brand Rifle owned by Donna and Peter Phelps and a single-shot Rossi .22-caliber rifle owned by Emily and/or Timothy Brasmeister and kept in the home Emily Brasmeister and Paul Korona shared.

“Paul [Damphier] and Jonathan [DeJesus] would be alive today if Matthew Phelps’ grandparents and Anthony Brasmeister’s parents and/or guardians took appropriate steps to secure the firearms in their home,” the suit states. “In the aftermath of numerous school shootings and other gun-related tragedies, it is common knowledge that parents need to safely secure their guns from access by their children. It is also clearly established under New York law that parents and guardians have a duty to protect the public by properly supervising their children’s use of dangerous instruments.”

Paul Damphier and DeJesus were both shot to death in a field on the property of Donna and Peter Phelps.

The suit seeks damages for wrongful death/claim for conscious pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Punitive damages are also sought. The plaintiffs are asking for jury trial.

Attorney Elmer Robert Keach III, who is representing Sandra Damphier and Bridget Masesie, could not be reached for comment.