Valerie Castile will receive all of the money from a $3 million settlement in the death of her son, Philando Castile, after attorneys are paid.
Hennepin County District Judge Susan Robiner issued the decision Wednesday after reviewing letters from Philando Castile's father, who contested the move, and two half-brothers who didn't ask for a penny.
"[Valerie Castile] did a beautiful job in raising [Philando Castile] to be the wonderful man that he was," wrote his half-brother, Phelix T. Frazier Jr. "Which allowed him to be the wonderful and respectful man to all he came in contact with.
"Since his death, her work in starting the Castile Foundation in his name and honor is more than satisfactory enough for me as his half-brother. I know she will do great things with the foundation to help improve others' lives."
Valerie Castile reached a $2.995 million settlement in June with the city of St. Anthony for the 2016 fatal shooting of her son by one of its then-officers, Jeronimo Yanez. Attorney fees will cost $995,000, leaving $2 million for distribution.
One of Valerie Castile's attorneys, Robert Bennett, has said she plans to use the funds to support the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, which was established to help victims of gun violence. Valerie Castile has been active with the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was unarmed when a Minneapolis police officer fatally shot her in July.
Bennett contacted several of Philando Castile's relatives, asking them to either sign off on the distribution plan or make a claim on the money. Some relatives, including a half-sister on his mother's side, Allysza Castile, consented to Valerie Castile receiving all of the money. Other relatives didn't reply at all.
Philando Castile's father, Phelix Frazier Sr., was the only relative who made a claim on the money, writing that he was "totally blindsided by [Valerie Castile's] lack of compassion for both me and her own daughter" in asking the court to distribute the entire settlement only to her.
Frazier Sr., who is serving a life sentence in federal prison, asked that he and Allysza Castile each receive $500,000. He was convicted of running a large-scale heroin trafficking ring and has been incarcerated for more than 20 years.
Previous court filings by Bennett said that Frazier Sr. was not involved in Philando Castile's life, that he was devoted to his four other children in St. Louis and that only "very recently" did he tell them that he was also Philando Castile's father.
Philando Castile's half-sister from St. Louis, Phallon Frazier, wrote the court consenting to Valerie Castile's distribution plan.
He also wrote a note about his father. "The only things I find untrue is my father was not ever devoted to me nor my family," Phallon Frazier said. "He has been in and out of jail my whole life. I have only spent two years in my whole life in the same house with him. … My mother raised me on her own not him at all."
Robiner wrote in her order that Valerie Castile and Allysza Castile experienced "pecuniary loss" because of Philando Castile's death, and thereby qualified for the settlement money. That includes loss of financial assistance, advice, comfort and protection that contribute to a survivor's health and well-being.
Frazier Sr. did not suffer pecuniary loss, the judge said.
"As for Mr. Frazier [Sr.], the Court sympathizes with the genuine loss and heartbreak he suffered," Robiner wrote. "… Mr. Frazier characterized his loss in terms of his hopes for a future relationship with his son, including a business relationship, but did not describe any particular acts of service that Mr. Castile provided to Mr. Frazier during his life."
Yanez was acquitted June 16 of manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm in the July 6, 2016, shooting in Falcon Heights after a traffic stop.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708