Murdered mother’s family files suit alleging illegal gun sales - KPTV - FOX 12

Murdered mother’s family files suit alleging illegal gun sales

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Kirsten Englund and her sons, Nick and Andrew Wiegardt. Kirsten Englund and her sons, Nick and Andrew Wiegardt.

Family members of Kirsten Englund say she was murdered on the Oregon coast by a delusional, mentally-ill man who should have never had access to guns, and now they’re taking the killer’s mother and two gun dealers to court.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Court claims that Diane Boyce acted as a “straw purchaser,” and illegally bought three guns for her son, who had a criminal history and was mentally ill.

In April 2013, Englund was on a road trip from her home in California to Washington and planned to visit her two sons in college en route, but was murdered when she pulled over along Highway 101 west of Eugene.

The lawsuit maintains Englund, who her family says loved the outdoors, simply pulled over to admire a scenic view. That’s when they say Jeffrey Boyce, 30, shot her six times, set her body on fire, then shot her once more.

“It’s hard to accept that I’m never going to be able to see her again, talk to her again, thank her for all the things she did during my childhood, and I have regrets,” Englund’s son, Nick Wiegardt, told Fox 12.

Boyce fled to California where he was accused of kidnapping and carjacking a man at gunpoint, then threatening to shoot another driver, this time a woman. When he was arrested, Boyce had possession of two guns and a third was found in the truck he drove to the scene of Englund’s murder.

The lawsuit claims Diane Boyce bought all three guns, an AK-47 and two semi-automatic pistols, from World Pawn Exchange in Coos Bay over the course of three months, and that at least two of the guns were bought online from J and G II, Inc., then transferred to the pawn shop.

Attorney for the Englund/Wiegardt family, Tom D’Amore, said there were several red flags both companies should have picked up on to indicate Diane Boyce was acting as a “straw purchaser” for her son, violating both Oregon and federal law. 

D’Amore said Jeffrey Boyce's name and credit card information was written on some of the forms Diane Boyce filled out, and that they were both listed as the “purchaser” on at least one invoice.

But, according to the lawsuit, Jeffrey Boyce was “a dangerous and delusional, mentally-ill” man with a criminal record who likely also used drugs and never would have been allowed to buy a gun on his own.

“This terrible tragedy for the family could have, and should have, been avoided,” D’Amore said. “If they would have just followed the law, these gun dealers, pawn shops, this wouldn’t have happened. They would have picked up on the fact that these guns were going to someone who was mentally disturbed.”

The lawsuit seeks $9 million and “injuctive relief” ordering World Pawn Exchange and J and G to reform their policies and procedures, and will likely take a year or so to be heard in court. 

D’Amore said he will likely also seek punitive damages.

“This is not a challenge to gun dealers,” he clarified. “Most gun dealers are responsible, respect their second amendment rights, respect how important it is in their jobs to make appropriate gun transactions so that guns don’t get into the wrong hands. This suit is about folks who don’t follow federal law, don’t follow Oregon law with respect to straw purchases.”

“My mom was a very well-respected woman and it’s hard to imagine why anyone would have a reason to harm her,” Wiegardt said. “It’s hard to imagine that something like this can just happen out of nowhere.”

Fox 12 reached out to World Pawn Exchange and Diane Boyce for comment, but neither replied.

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