September 15-30, 2005 Edition

Case Against Fanning,

St. Martin’s Press

Settled Out of Court

COLUMBIA, SC/9/4/2005—A U.S. District Court case against St. Martin’s Press and the author of INTO THE WATER, a book about serial murderer Richard Marc Evonitz, has been settled out of court for $4,500.

Author Diane Fanning said the case was a simple matter of the other side not understanding her First Amendment rights. The case was filed by one of Evonitz’s victims, who said the book revealed “highly offensive, private matters.” The girl, age 15 at the time of the assault, was abducted from a friend’s house in June 2002 and was held captive by Evonitz for 18 hours in his Richland County apartment until she escaped.

Evonitz, who later killed himself after a police chase in Florida, was implicated in the abduction and murder of three other young women in 1996 and 1997 in Sportsylvania County, Va. Fanning’s book details the events.

The woman will receive $2,500. Her parents will receive $500, and attorney Grier will receive $1500 in legal fees. The settlement enables Fanning and St. Martin’s continue publishing the book, but they are barred from selling movie rights, according to Grier.

Fanning and the publisher’s attorneys argued that because the girl had gone on national television after her escape, she had waived confidentiality. Barbara Grier, the victim’s attorney, said she had settled because Fanning’s side had a strong argument.

The suit was initially filed in Lexington County Circuit Court in August 2004 but was moved by the defendants to U.S. District Court in Columbia.