June 16, 2017

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg will not reopen a criminal investigation into the shooting death of Seth Adams.

Adams died in May 2012, after he was shot by PBSO Sgt. Michael Custer in the parking lot of his family's A One Stop Garden Shop in Loxahatchee.

Following a federal civil mistrial in March and a $2.5 million settlement with PBSO last month, the Adams family publicly asked Aronberg to once again look at the case, and consider criminal charges.

In a letter sent earlier this week to the family's attorney Wallace McCall, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg stood by the 2012 state attorney's decision, calling the shooting by Sergeant Michael Custer justified.

Aronberg explained his decision in the letter saying, "Justice deserved finality, and we respect the decisions made by previous administrations and give great deference to them. As prosecutors, it is unethical to file criminal charges when we have no good faith basis that we would succeed at trial."

The Adams family and their attorneys almost succeeded at trial in March. The federal civil trial ended with a hung jury. 8 of 9 jurors felt Custer used excessive force.

Stephen LeClainche, one of the Adams' family attorneys, told Contact 5 Friday that Aronberg's decision wasn't unexpected. He says Aronberg claimed "there was no new evidence to open the case," and that the "case was thoroughly investigated."

LeClainche disagrees and so did U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley during the March trial.

Speaking from the beach, Judge Hurley said one investigator's admitted inability to reconcile inconsistencies, and collect all evidence at the scene was "slipshod and shoddy, a disgrace."

Seth's parents have said before that Aronberg is relying on an investigation that obviously wasn't conducted properly, as supported by Judge Hurley's words.

Custer said he shot Adams because he feared for his life, and claimed Adams had attempted to strangle him, and then reach into his pickup truck for what Custer thought was a gun. Adams was unarmed.

The Adams family and their attorneys argued in court, that physical evidence gathered at the scene did not support Custer's version of events.

The Adams settled with PBSO last month, for $2.5 million. At the time, the Adams said in a news conference that they felt PBSO admitted guilt with the settlement.

On Friday, the Adams' attorney, Stephen LeClainche, told Contact 5 they were still waiting to hear from the FBI about whether it would conduct a criminal investigation and were considering their options moving forward.

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