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Father of murdered girl in love triangle case files suit against Rachel Wade

PINELLAS PARK — Rachel Wade has been on TV a lot lately. Dateline, 20/20. The Discovery Channel even flew in a crew from Australia to interview the girl who stabbed her rival in the heart.

Media from around the world have run the story about the teenage love triangle and showed the faces of the two pretty blonds who fought over a boy.

Sarah Ludemann was 18, about to graduate from Pinellas Park High, when she bled to death in the street.

Rachel Wade was 19, an Applebee's waitress, when she plunged a steak knife into Sarah.

The fight happened two years ago this week: April 15, 2009. "Feels like 20 years to me," said Sarah's dad, Charlie Ludemann.

On Tuesday, Ludemann filed a wrongful death suit in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court. His lawyer, Joseph Lopez of Tampa, asked for at least $15,000 compensation for medical bills, burial costs, pain and suffering.

Ludemann said he doesn't want any money. The state paid the hospital and funeral costs, so that reimbursement wouldn't come to him anyway. He just doesn't want the girl who killed his daughter to profit from her death.

"I'm tired of seeing her face on TV," said Ludemann, who drives a cab. "I just want to make sure she don't make nothing off all this."

Ludemann said he doesn't know if TV crews paid Wade for her appearances. He heard someone is writing a book. What if someone makes a movie? "She don't deserve a dime," he said.

In the fall, the producer of 20/20 paid Ludemann and his wife an undisclosed sum so they would agree not to talk to any other media for six months. So he supposes maybe someone paid Wade, too.

He knows Wade doesn't own property, doesn't have any assets to seize or liquidate. He knows she can't earn much in the Ocala prison where she is serving 27 years. "My wife is just tired of her getting all this attention," he said. "Of everyone looking at her in prison and going, 'poor little girl.' "

Attorney Jay Hebert, who defended Wade during last summer's criminal trial, said she hasn't received any payments from any media.

Hebert said Wade is working on getting her GED. "She's focused on that, and her appeal," he said. "She might not even answer the lawsuit."

She's also working with Hebert to teach other teenagers the dangers of cyberbullying, helping him write programs to give at Pinellas County schools. Wade and her rival had been sending nasty text messages for months before the final showdown. A threatening voice message Rachel left on Sarah's cell phone was a key piece of evidence.

"She's going to get out of prison while she's still in her 40s. She'll get to have a life," Ludemann said. "No lawsuit, no amount of money will bring back my only child."

Father of murdered girl in love triangle case files suit against Rachel Wade 04/12/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 9:38am]
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