Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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Relatives file lawsuit in death of Joughin

Family wants to raze Worley barn

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WAUSEON — Family members of the slain Sierah Joughin filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Wednesday seeking assets from her accused killer.

The civil suit in Fulton County Common Pleas Court restates much of the pending criminal case against James Worley. It says Worley, 57, of rural Delta is responsible for Ms. Joughin’s death and requests unspecified damages.

The 20-year-old University of Toledo student went missing July 19 while riding her bicycle on a rural county road. Officials found her remains three days later in a cornfield along County Road 7. She died from asphyxiation because of a plastic gag lodged in her mouth.

Authorities said in court documents the barn on Worley's property had a hidden room containing restraints and a freezer with blood inside.

Jerry Phillips, who filed the suit with co-counsel Jay Harris, said family members hope it will allow them to obtain Worley's property and raze that building. A judge previously declared Worley indigent.

The barn is a marker of bad memories and similar to a “neon sign” for the Joughin family, he said.

“It's their intent, if successful in this lawsuit, to have that barn destroyed,” Mr. Phillips said.

Mark Berling, the attorney representing Worley in his criminal case, declined comment on the civil suit.

The charges against Worley include aggravated murder, kidnapping, felonious assault, aggravated robbery, and having weapons while under disability. He is to go on trial Jan. 16. The civil case likely will follow the criminal proceedings.

He remains in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker.

Contact Ryan Dunn at:, 419-724-6095, or on Twitter @rdunnblade.

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