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Compensation for slain Miami-Dade honors student passes state legislature

Gough Relief came late in the night for Jorge and Maria Gough: four years after the couple's 14-year old son Jaime, an honors student at Southwest Middle School, was brutally stabbed to death in the school's bath room, state lawmakers approved a bill releasing $1 million in settlement money owed to the family.

At 11:46 the House unanimously authorized releasing the funds, which were part of of a $1.7 million settlement reached between the Gough's and the Miami-Dade School District. The district accepted liability for the teen's death, but it was an uphill battle for the Gough's to get the money released by the State.

Earlier in the year a special magistrate ruled unfavorably against the claims bill, contending that the
school had no way of preventing Jaime's death. He was brutally stabbed 40 times by classmate Michael Hernandez, now 19, and awaiting a May trial date.   

Perhaps swaying legislators was the fact that Jorge Gough traveled to Tallahassee to sit through all of the committee hearings on his son's compensation bill which was sponsored by Sen. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Democrat, and Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a Miami-Dade Republican.

"I made this promise to my son, that no matter what happened, I would do everything I could do to
keep my head up for his memory, " Jorge Gough said in a recent interview with the Miami Herald. "It's the only thing I can do. I want to see every session, be at every court hearing -- everything.''

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