The family of a 34-year-old Paso Robles man who was shot to death in 2015 is suing the estate of the self-proclaimed psychic accused of his murder.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in SLO Superior Court Jan. 25 against the estate of 62-year-old Nicole Honait Luxor. Luxor was arrested and charged with the murder of Benjamin Derrel Terra on Nov. 15, 2015, after a standoff and shootout with police. Luxor, a self-proclaimed clairvoyant who operated a bed and breakfast at her Paso Robles home, died July 1, 2016, of a terminal illness while in custody awaiting trial.
“Obviously, they didn’t want anybody to die,” Robert Mott, an attorney representing Terra’s family in the lawsuit, told New Times. “They are sad for [Luxor’s] death, but they feel she is responsible for the death of their son.”
On the night of Terra’s death, SLO County Sheriff’s deputies were responding to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at Luxor’s home when they discovered that she’d barricaded herself inside. A SWAT team entered the house and discovered Terra’s body but had to retreat when Luxor reportedly shot at them. The standoff lasted nine hours, with Luxor allegedly firing dozens of times at the officers before surrendering.
According to court documents, SLO attorney David Vogel, who represented her during the criminal court proceedings, is managing Luxor’s estate. Vogel did not respond to questions sent via email from New Times.
Luxor died before her guilt or innocence could be determined by a trial. However, Mott expressed confidence that he would be able to prove she was responsible for Terra’s death. Terra was shot multiple times while he was seated and even attempted to hold up a pillow to shield himself, Mott said. He also stated that Luxor had reportedly been intoxicated when she was arrested and had made incriminating statements in the days prior to Terra’s death.
“I think it is very clear that the police and law enforcement believes she did it,” he said.
The complaint against Luxor’s estate did not include the specific amount of the damages Terra’s family is seeking, but indicated that it’s more than $25,000. While Terra’s family is entitled to seek compensation from Luxor’s estate, Mott said her death prevented them from asking for punitive damages.
As of Feb. 1, no response to the lawsuit had been filed in SLO County Superior Court.