U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ordered the trial to determine how much the U.S. Air Force should pay to compensate survivors and the families of those killed. He ruled in July that the Air Force was "60% liable" for the attack because it failed to submit Kelley's assault conviction during his time in the Air Force to a national database, which might have prevented him from buying the guns he used in the mass shooting.
Kelley, who was discharged from the Air Force in 2014 for bad conduct, exchanged fire with an armed resident while leaving the church. The armed resident then got in the truck of another man and they followed Kelley as he drove away. Kelley, who lost control of his vehicle and crashed, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Rodriguez began to hear testimony Monday in the damages phase of the case, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Dingivan, representing the Air Force, told the court Monday that “the government has no intention ... to denigrate or dismiss the claims of these plaintiffs, who we can all agree endured a horrific tragedy.”
He said the government has already stipulated “reasonable compensation and reasonable treatment for some of these plaintiffs” in suggested payments ranging from "$400 to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more."
“As to future medical expenses, we have presented life-care plans covering future (treatment/needs) recommending millions of dollars in future medical care,” Dingivan said. “We have proposed PTSD treatment, backed by research, for those individuals who use it. We have proposed home health care, medicine, surgery ... for those plaintiffs who need them.”
This phase of the trial is expected to last two weeks.