Psychic Who Said a Texas Couple Was Hiding a Mass Grave Now Owes Them $6.8 Million

presley rhonda gridley being served.jpg
Presley "Rhonda" Gridley
It's our sad duty this morning to bring you the last installment in the Case of the Psychic Who Couldn't See Shit, aka Presley "Rhonda" Gridley. Just about a year ago, a Liberty County, Texas, couple, Joe Bankson and Gena Charlton, sued Gridley and a whole bunch of media outlets in Dallas County court for falsely claiming they had a mass grave on their property. Gridley, who liked to go by the psychic nom de plume "Angel" at the time, called the Hays County Sheriff's Office, some 200 miles away from Liberty County, and chattily told the operator that if the cops paid a visit to a certain farmhouse, they'd find not just a mass grave, but the bones of missing children in the walls and "stuff written all over the walls in blood."

It all sounded very upsetting, and also great for ratings, which is what sent both the Liberty County Sheriff's Office and a whole bunch of TV cameras out there. As a Liberty County blogger named Allen Youngblood later discovered when he dug up the call Gridley made to Hays County, Gridley made it clear to the cops that her claims stemmed from the fact that she was a "psychic and a reverend."

She's now also very deeply in debt. Last month, a judge ordered that Gridley pay the couple a whopping $6.8 million for the "mental anguish and damage suffered to reputation" that they both experienced.

See also:
- Texas Couple Sues Angel the Psychic, Belo, the Times and CNN Over False Claims Of a Mass Grave at Their House
- Angel the Psychic, Wrong About All Those Bodies at a Liberty County Farmhouse, Is Apparently Unaware She's Being Sued

Liberty County, you see, already settled with the couple out of court. The claims against all the media outlets were each eventually dismissed. That just left Gridley. When she was served with a subpoena at her house in Lago Vista, a little town some 35 miles northwest of Austin, she answered the door in a lovely, face-obscuring ensemble of beanie, sunglasses and a giant Texas A&M sweatshirt. Then she wrote a letter to the court, claiming confusion as to why she would need to come and be deposed. "I have no knowledge and am not aware of any situation or circumstance that would require me to appear, or give a deposition," she wrote.

And then she didn't. Appear, that is. She didn't respond to several subpoenas, she never showed up for a deposition, and she damn sure didn't make it to court on May 7, when Judge Carl Ginsberg ruled that she had "intentionally published an unambiguous statement by oral publication" that falsely claimed the Bankson/Charlton household kept dead bodies lying around. Because Gridley acted with "reckless disregard for the truth," defamed the couple, presented them in a false light, and damaged their reputations, Ginsberg decided, they were entitled to some cash.

Bankson was awarded $2 million for past mental anguish and damage to his reputation, and another $1 million for any such emotional/reputational distress that will be suffered in the future. Charlton was awarded identical amounts, plus $99,000 in past lost wages and $750,000 in future lost wages. That brings the total to a cool $6.8 million, with interest, awarded from June 6, 2011, the date Gridley made the call, to the present.

Of course, given that Gridley has never showed up for any of these legal proceedings and seems to be trying very hard to ignore their existence, there is the small question of whether the couple can ever reasonably expect to get paid. Probably don't need a psychic to predict that one. Especially not Angel. Man, was she bad at that job.


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24 comments
Threeboys
Threeboys

Can we get a story about the psychic who COULD see shit?

Now that would be news.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Why were the lazy, gore mongering, cretins in the media exonerated? This is one case where restraint ought to have been exercised. I would have applauded same.

Cowtown
Cowtown

Gig 'em Aggies! Whoop!

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

"There ain't nothing in Room 237, but you ain't got no business going in there anyway, so stay out!

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

Why is she liable and not the idiotic superstitious police who actually believed her?

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

I'm in complete sympathy with the couple who sued. I cheered them on. But...$6.8 million??? How about a judgment that has some realistic prospect of being imposed? Might as well sentence her to exile on Mars. 

What jackass judge signed off on this? 

James080
James080

I am amazed that seemingly educated and experienced governmental employees (at the Hays County Sheriff's Office) would act on such an unsubstantiated and flimsy lead coming from a self-described "psychic and a reverend." Oh well, I suppose it's true, you can't fix stupid.

NewsDog
NewsDog

It may not be 6.8 millllion dolllars (in best Dr. Evil voice) but they could place a lien against any real property she owns.

JackJett
JackJett

....this just made my day..

Case of the Psychic Who Couldn't See Shit,

observist
observist topcommenter

Why didn't she see this coming?

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ozonelarryb Hey, when the cops dig up a back yard in search of dead babies, that's news, whether they find them or not.

Daniel
Daniel

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  You know, Myrna, when something happens, it can leave a trace of itself behind. 

Suppose someone burns toast.  It can leave a trace of itself behind.

Well, maybe things that happen leave other kinds of traces behind. Not things that anyone can notice, but things that people who "shine" can see. Just like they can see things that haven't happened yet. Well, sometimes they can see things that happened a long time ago. I think a lot of things happened right here in this particular blog comments section -- over the years. 

And not all of 'em was good things.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@StupidHippies Yep, although Liberty County had to pay up, Hays Co. wasn't even mentioned in the suit AFAIK. Bear in mind that the woman's home base is in Travis Co., whereas she called the next county south. There must have been a...psychic connection.

observist
observist topcommenter

@bmarvel  I'd guess it's symbolic, like multiple life sentences.  The real fine will be whatever seize-able assets the Psychic/Reverend has for the, um, foreseeable future.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@observist For the record, the earliest recorded smashing of that softball setup was in July 2001 by the Missouri attorney general when his Show Me state was the first of several to indict "Miss Cleo" for fraud. (For a Los Angeles native, she surely had a good Jamaican accent.) I can imagine the glee among the ass't AG's as they were drawing straws to see who would deliver the line, but then their boss took the honor.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@Daniel Oh, how I adore that movie!  It still frightens the living daylights out of me and the cats.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@observist I much prefer real to symbolic judgments. My guess is that the psychic has no assets worth seizing, which means no lawyer will deem it worth his time to pursue the matter Case closed.

observist
observist topcommenter

@wcvemail @observist You're right - I should try to do better - but if I didn't swing at it someone else would have.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@observist @wcvemail True, unlike "That's what she said," "She should have seen it coming" always needs to be posted at least once.

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