July 30, 2014

Elyria
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Wrongful death lawsuit filed in woman’s stabbing death

ELYRIA — Holly Dembie’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the man accused of stabbing her to death last August.

William Dembie Jr.

Holly Dembie

The lawsuit accuses William Dembie Jr., who was married to Holly Dembie, of assault, battery, negligence, gross negligence and infliction of emotional distress. It asks for more than $1 million in damages and said William Dembie shouldn’t receive any of that money.

Cheryl Foldes, Holly Dembie’s mother, filed the lawsuit on behalf of both herself and as the administrator of her daughter’s estate.

Willaim Dembie is being held on aggravated murder and other charges at the Lorain County Jail, where he worked as a guard before resigning after his wife’s death.

Dembie, 43, called the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office early Aug. 11, 2011, and told a dispatcher that he had beheaded his wife.

He was covered in blood when deputies arrived and surrendered before confessing to stabbing Holly Dembie multiple times with a combat knife, which was found near her nude body.

Detectives determined that William Dembie attacked Holly Dembie inside the house and she then plunged out of a second-story bathroom window while trying to flee. William Dembie then went outside and stabbed her twice in the neck and slit her throat twice, according to police and prosecutors.

J. Anthony Rich, one of Dembie’s attorneys, said he couldn’t comment on the lawsuit because he hasn’t seen it. Rich has said that Dembie killed his wife because she was abusing him, but Foldes and other members of Holly Dembie’s family have said he was the abusive one in the relationship.

Rich said that typically lawsuits filed while a criminal case is still ongoing tend to be delayed until after the criminal charges have been dealt with.

“Generally speaking, the criminal case runs its course first,” he said.

County Prosecutor Dennis Will said it’s actually not uncommon for lawsuits to be filed while a criminal case is still working its way through the criminal justice system. Such lawsuits typically arise out of traffic crashes, he said, and don’t usually have much of an impact on criminal cases from the point of view of prosecutors.

“It’s not going to affect how we do our job,” he said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.