A Texas jury on Thursday ordered right-wing conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones to pay $4.1 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim.
The plaintiffs, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, asked for at least $150 million in compensation for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Their 6-year-old son, Jesse, was one of the 20 children killed in the 2012 shooting.
On his Infowars show, Jones falsely claimed on several occasions that the massacre was staged. During the trial, he reversed course, testifying that the shooting was "100 percent real" and he was wrong to have said otherwise. Lewis and Heslin also testified, saying that they have been threatened and harassed by followers of Jones and his conspiracy theory.
"Having a 6-year-old son shot in front of his classroom is unbearable and you don't think you're going to survive and then to have someone on top of that perpetuate a lie that it was a hoax, that is was a false flag," Lewis said from the stand, speaking to Jones. "I don't think you understand the fear you perpetuate, not just on the victim's family but to our family, our friends, and any survivor from that school."
The jury will next decide whether to award punitive damages to Lewis and Heslin.