In an effort to find out what really happened the night Jack Dale Sexton was fatally shot by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, his family has hired two private investigators with years of police experience.
Despite appearances to the contrary, the grieving family has no intention of filing a lawsuit at this point, attorney Richard C. Loy insisted at a Ventura news conference Thursday.
Loy said the family is launching its own investigation because police and newspaper accounts of the shooting in Port Hueneme do not square with their son’s typical behavior.
To find out more, they have cobbled together a fact-finding team composed of former police officers turned private investigators: Braden McKinley and Russell L. Noragon.
McKinley worked for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department for 20 years, the majority of his time spent in the Major Crimes division working on officer-involved shootings. He then spent nine years as chief investigator for the district attorney’s office.
Noragon worked for the Sheriff’s Department as a patrol deputy for 6 1/2 years and has been a licensed investigator for 20.
As Loy fielded questions from reporters, he held aloft a large picture of the 26-year-old Sexton mounted in a heavy wood frame. The photo was taken just days before his death to give to his grandparents for their 50th anniversary.
According to police accounts, the fit, muscular 6-foot-2 Oxnard resident was drunk, combative and acting irrationally when he was shot and killed Jan. 26 by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy.
Police say Sexton entered the home of an 81-year-old widow, where he confronted her neighbors, Senior Deputy Steven Lengyel and Jon Van Tilburg, who were inspecting the home. A coroner’s report indicated he was shot in the back.
The investigators refused to divulge the details of their interviews to date.
The family has 180 days to file a claim with Ventura County, a procedural step that would open the door to file a lawsuit in the future.