Groups Balk at Paying $1.3 Million Cop Killer Reward

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Christopher Dorner Hostages: 'He Just Wanted to Clear His Name'

Christopher Dorner Hostages: 'He Just Wanted to Clear His Name'

Christopher Dorner Hostages: 'He Just Wanted to Clear His Name'

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Christopher Dorner Hostages: 'He Just Wanted to Clear His Name'

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When ex-cop Christopher Dorner was hunting down Los Angeles police and their families, more than $1 million in reward money was raised for help in his capture and conviction.

Now that there are two sets of claims to the reward money, the groups that pledged the money are balking at paying because Dorner wasn't captured or convicted. He died Feb. 12 when he shot himself in the head after being cornered by police and the subsequent gunbattle set fire to the house where he was barricaded.

The $1 million reward was offered by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa after Dorner had killed two officers, the daughter of an officer and her fiance, and wounded two other cops. It is unclear how many groups and individuals pledged the $1 million, however, the Peace Officers Research Association of California along with police unions, civil organizations and private citizens all contributed to the reward.

President of PORAC Ron Cottingham told ABCNews.com that his organization, along with two separate chapters, pledged $60,000 of the $1 million total.

"We were given a specific criteria for issuance of the reward…. So now we are polling by mail to see … if member directors want to continue becoming part of the reward or not," Cottingham said.

In addition to the $1 million reward, three separate $100,000 rewards were offered by the counties of Los Angeles and Riverside and the Los Angeles City Council.

Kirk Hallam, an attorney for Jim and Karen Reynolds, told ABC News that other groups are also considering withdrawing their reward pledges because Dorner was killed, not captured and convicted.

The Reynolds, who were tied up in their cabin by Dorner and called police when they got free, have put in a claim for the reward.

So has Rick Heltebrake, who Dorner carjacked after he fled the Reynolds' cabin. He claims his phone call to authorities led to Dorner's capture.

But it's not clear whether any of them will be able to collect.

Riverside has already decided to not pay up. Riverside city spokeswoman Cindie Perry told ABCNews.com that the "criteria set forth by the committee was not met, therefore no reward will be given."

Los Angeles County spokesman David Sommers said "there has been no consideration or discussion of pay out at this time."

Sommers said several departments will be consulted to "determine the merit and validity of the [reward] claim. However, no decisions have been made by the county regarding the payout of the $100,000 reward."

The city of Los Angeles didn't respond to ABC News. And the status of the $1 million reward is expected to be settled in mid-April, according to Hallam.

"We are very confident that Jim and Karen Reynolds are entitled to the entire reward in terms of the various rewards that are being offered," Hallam said.

The lawyer said the wording of the reward offer is not a loophole for the money to not be paid because California law allows for "conviction" rewards to be paid when the wanted person dies on the effort to apprehend him.

"California law Penal Code 1547E states that local government is authorized to issue rewards that are paid on the capture and/or conviction of the suspect, and if the suspect dies, in the course of a police dispute or while in police custody then the requirement that he be convicted is eliminated," Hallam said.

 

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