Angela Ricci, the widow of former Elizabeth Smart kidnapping suspect Richard Ricci, reached a settlement in her lawsuit against the Utah Department of Corrections Wednesday.
Angela Ricci will receive $150,000. In return, the state does not acknowledge any wrongdoing. In a statement released to news organizations Wednesday evening Angela Ricci said that the settlement, though appreciated, does not make up for the loss of her husband.
"There is no way to sufficiently compensate for a life that should have been both Rick's and our family's," she said.
She also urged others to "take responsibility for their actions" and hoped that similar burdens are not inflicted on other innocent people.
"Accusations are not facts, insult is not truth, and arrest is not conviction," she said. "No one else should ever have to go through the gauntlet of suspicion, cruelty and grief that was imposed on Richard and our family."
Richard Ricci was arrested June 14, 2002, nine days after Smart's kidnapping, on a warrant that was granted under misleading circumstances, according to the original lawsuit his wife filed in August 2003. He suffered an aneurysm and fell into a coma Aug. 27 while at the state prison. He died at University Hospital Aug. 30. Ricci was never charged in connection with the abduction.
Smart was found alive March 12 in Sandy.
Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee were charged with kidnapping her.
Paul Murphy, spokesman for Attorney Gen. Mark Shurtleff, said they settled the lawsuit because it was a better financial resolution than going to court, and it did not implicate anyone on the state level. Shurtleff's office was representing the Utah Department of Corrections, which was the focus of the lawsuit.
"The issue is simply the cost of going to court versus the cost of settling the case," Murphy said. "The Department of Corrections and the state of Utah are not at fault in this incident."
Even though Ricci was never charged in Smart's abduction, Angela Ricci's attorney, Bruce Oliver, said he was not treated like a man who simply violated his parole, nor did he receive proper medical attention in prison.
"Certainly the conduct Richard received while housed at Utah State Prison as a result of the allegations made against him, their treatment of him was absolutely unfair," he said. "He was taken back to prison on parole violation for possessing a beer. They shackled him wherever he went. He was kept in solitary confinement. They hooded him even when he was speaking with his attorneys."
The settlement is a good one, Oliver said, although he doesn't believe the key issue was the money.
"Money could never replace Richard," he said. "I don't think Angela could ever replace Richard."
It was hard for Angela Ricci to listen to depositions of what her husband went through while at the prison, Oliver said.
"This had a lot more to do with closure in her life than anything else," he said.