There is an interesting torts case out of Dallas where Judge Carl Ginsberg in the 193rd State District Court, ruled against Presley “Rhonda” Gridley, a self-described psychic who created a national frenzy by telling authorities that a Liberty County couple, Joe Bankston and Gena Charlton, had a mass grave on their property. She has been ordered to pay the couple $6.8 million.
As a psychic, Gridley, 50, did not appear to see this one coming. She did not appear for the bench trial where she was found to have committed defamation for giving false information to the police on June 6, 2011. The damages include $3 million in damages to Bankson and $3,849,000 to Charlton, plus five percent interest.
Gridley goes by the name “Angel” and called the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and falsely claimed that 25 to 30 dismembered bodies were buried in a mass grave at the plaintiffs’ residence.
The case is interesting because statements to police are usually protected, though they can be prosecuted as false statements to the police. The police then repeated the false statements to various news outlets and created the firestorm. It is perfectly bizarre. The police hear from a psychic named Angel and run to the media to trigger a frenzy. What followed was an army of helicopters, cars, cadaver dogs, and police officers searching the property on the basis of this one “vision.”
It turns out that Gridley also called a police station two hundred miles away telling a dispatcher that she is a “reverend and a psychic” and that they would find the bones of dozens of missing children in the walls and “stuff written all over the walls in blood.”
Yet the original charge against the County were dismissed, leaving only Gridley. There is no record of any disciplinary action against the police for starting the media circus or taking such action on the word of someone who is obviously psychotic rather than psychic.
Gridley has said that this was just one of the many visions that she has had her whole life. She confirmed her visions, she said, with two friends who also had visions of children being in danger.
Something tells me that “Angel” is not only certifiably insane but judgment proof. Call it a vision.