HOUSTON, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- A jury in U.S. state Texas on Friday decided to penalize conspiracy theorist and media personality Alex Jones with nearly 50 million U.S. dollars in both compensatory and punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the parents of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim.
Out of a total of 49.3 million dollars, the 45.2 million dollars in punitive damages as punishment for repeatedly claiming the school shooting was a hoax may be reduced due to Texas statute, according to a report from local media The Texas Tribune.
The jury on Thursday ordered Jones to pay the parents 4.1 million dollars in compensation for his comments.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of 6-year-old victim Jesse Lewis, sought 150 million dollars from Jones after he told the audience of his website Infowars that the U.S. government staged the Sandy Hook primary school shooting in order to take away Americans' guns.
"We ask that you send a very very simple message, and that is, stop Alex Jones. Stop the monetization of misinformation and lies. Please," the plaintiffs' attorney Wesley Todd Ball said to the jury in his closing argument.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble reminded the jury that in a default judgment, Jones was already found liable for defamation and "intentional infliction of emotional distress" against Lewis and Heslin.
In 2012, the deadliest shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in eastern U.S. state Connecticut had left 26 people dead, including 20 children between six and seven years old. ■