On September 25, 2012, Rudy Mata was shot and killed by David Merrill, who was allegedly a drug-addicted domestic abuser married to Rudy’s step-daughter. Mata was a devoted family man, a local rockabilly star, and a beloved member of his community. The lawsuit alleges that employees of Pioneer Pawn Shop entrusted Merrill with a Glock handgun, despite the fact that Merrill had allegedly professed to a store employee that he intended to kill his wife, Trisha.
The Brady Center filed suit on behalf of Rudy’s widow, Sandra Mata, in a Texas district court in September 2015. The lawsuit alleges that Pioneer Pawn and its employees unlawfully supplied a firearm to David Merrill despite knowing or having reasonable cause to know that Merrill intended to commit a crime, and posed a substantially high risk of causing violent harm. Despite his threatening comments and dangerous behavior, the suit alleges that the dealer and its employees negligently supplied him with the gun and did not call the police or undertake further investigations into Merrill’s intent to purchase a gun, or his mental state. The case is currently in discovery.
The Brady Center represents Sandra in this case, along with a team from the firm of Paul Weiss in New York, led by Partner Christopher Boehning.
Read the press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit: Local Musician's Widow Files Lawsuit Against Gun Dealer Connected to Murder