The LaBovick Law Group is representing the Estate of Jovanni Sierra, the 13-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed during a sleepover in 2018. The firm has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Publix Supermarkets in Palm Beach County court system, which claims Publix illegally sold the knife that Ballen Isles killer Corey Johnson used to kill Jovanni Sierra and stab attorney Elaine Simon and her son, Dane Bancroft.
Corey Johnson, who was 17 at the time of the crime, is being charged as an adult with first-degree murder for the killing of 13-year-old Jovanni Sierra on his birthday, and two counts of attempted murder for the stabbings of Elaine Simon and her son Dane Bancroft. This fatal attack occurred during a sleepover in Palm Beach Gardens that took place on March 12, 2018.
“We have rules in Florida to keep the public safe,” said Brian LaBovick, the attorney representing the Estate of Jovanni Sierra. “In this case, one of these rules is to keep knives, dangerous weapons, out of the hands of children. Where they can hurt themselves or hurt others.”
Johnson’s deadly weapon was a knife purchased at a local Publix supermarket just hours before the attack. In Florida, it is against the law to sell any weapons, including knives, to those under the age of 18. According to the lawsuit, the grocery store’s barcode system didn’t flag the cashier to require age verification. There is security footage showing Johnson purchasing the knife and leaving the store, though he was under 18. And that’s the basis of the 12-page wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Sierra’s family.
“Publix has refused to change their reckless policy of selling knives to underage buyers and has spurned Florida law by intentionally failing to check identification before selling dangerous weapons to underage knife purchasers,” stated LaBovick. “Publix is fully responsible for the damages caused by their illegal knife sale and could be responsible for punitive damages if their conduct rises to the level of intentional disregard of Florida law.”
Police have said Johnson confessed to the stabbings, saying he had terrorist ideologies. He had a fascination with ISIS, studied the Quran, and had been watched by the FBI for more than a year. He is due back in court on March 20.
Publix Supermarkets have issued the below statement in response to the lawsuit.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on pending litigation,” said Maria Brous, the director of communications for Publix.
A wrongful death lawsuit is when you bring a case on behalf of the estate of the deceased individual against a defendant who has caused the individual to die. That death could have been because of negligence or it could have been because of intentional harm. At LaBovick Law Group, we are compassionate and experienced in handling wrongful death claims on our clients’ behalf. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one that you believe to be due to wrongful death, fill out our free case evaluation to get the legal help you need.