Maternal family of slain Rock Hill girl files lawsuit

The maternal family of a 9-year-old girl whom police say was killed March 21 by her paternal grandfather filed a lawsuit Friday that seeks to bar the accused killer and his children from selling his property or withdrawing money from his bank accounts.

The lawsuit makes it clear that the maternal family of Mia Rodgers plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the grandfather Ronald Fred Gregory. The lawsuit also alleges that Kevin Gregory, Ronald Gregory’s son and Mia’s biological father, lied in court documents about his role in Mia’s life during a custody fight over her. In October, Kevin Gregory, along with his parents, Ronald and Barbara Gregory, had been granted temporary custody of Mia.

Ronald Gregory, 67, in jail without bond, allegedly withdrew $25,000 in cash the day before his wife, Barbara, and granddaughter were shot to death. He then withdrew a $14,000 cashier’s check made out to his daughter, according to court documents filed by prosecutors in the criminal case against Gregory.

Gregory tried to kill himself but failed, police said, and he was later arrested on two counts of murder.

The lawsuit and request for a restraining order, filed by Rock Hill lawyer Randy Hood on behalf of Mia’s maternal uncle, Eric Rodgers of Alabama, cites the $39,000 withdrawals and asks that a judge bar Ronald Gregory, Kevin Gregory and Ronald Gregory’s daughter from withdrawing any more money or selling any of Ronald Gregory’s property.

The lawsuit claims that Mia’s half-brother, Alexander, will eventually be the sole heir to Mia’s estate and has the right to file suit against Ronald Gregory over Mia’s death. Eric Rodgers has legal custody of Alexander.

Angie Rodgers Benoit, the mother of Mia and Alexander, died in November 2013 from leukemia.

Money from the Gregorys’ accounts, along with other assets such as a house, motor home and other vehicles, should not be subject to the Gregorys’ control while the lawsuit against them is pending, Hood said.

“We believe that the defendants should not be able to deplete Ronald Gregory’s estate,” Hood said Friday.

Paul Rodgers, Mia’s maternal grandfather, declined to comment on the lawsuit and request for a restraining order other than to say the lawsuit will hopefully help the family find answers about how Mia was killed. In Friday’s court documents, Rodgers again states that he and his wife raised Mia until age 7, despite claims from the Gregorys that they played a major role in Mia’s childhood.

Hood confirmed that he plans to file a wrongful death suit against the Gregorys. As for the restraining order, Hood said he hopes to have a York County judge hold a hearing on the request in the next two weeks.

The lawsuit also alleges that Kevin Gregory, during the custody dispute, “appears to have submitted a false affidavit under oath” about his role in Mia’s upbringing. More, the lawsuit claims Kevin Grgeory is the “non-supporting biological father” who under South Carolina law is subject to being dismissed as heir to that child’s estate.

The lawyer for the Gregory family in the Family Court custody battle and in Friday’s civil lawsuit, Bruce Poore of Rock Hill, did not return calls seeking comment.