A settlement was reached Thursday between the family of a Montana mathematics prodigy and the estate of an obsessed, murderous New Port Richey man.
Jason Armstrong, a Montana attorney representing Promethea Pythaitha and her mother, Georgia Smith, told the Times the settlement was reached, but declined to immediately discuss details of the federal lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court.
The strange tale began in November 2010, when 81-year-old Thomas Kyros left his New Port Richey home and drove 2,430 miles to Bozeman, Mont., to be near Pythaitha, who was then 19. A neighbor said it was the first time Kyros left his home since 1986. Pythaitha was a Greek-American child genius who graduated from Montana State University at 14 with a degree in mathematics. Kyros, also Greek, heard about her years earlier and began sending her financial support. He called Pythaitha his "favorite grandchild" and claimed to have sent her $17,000 for her studies. He asked her to call him "pappoulis," which means little grandfather in Greek.
But as his obsession grew, Pythaitha and her mother, Georgia Smith, withdrew and refused to communicate with him or accept his gifts.
He blamed Smith. Kyros believed Pythaitha was being held prisoner by her mother and that her chances of future success were being ruined.
Kyros had his lawyer draft a will. In it, Kyros gave Pythaitha two-thirds of his estate but wrote, in bold letters, she would receive no money "while her mother, Georgia A. Smith, is living."
In Montana, Kyros bought a gun and, on Jan. 17, 2011, he drove his car into the fence surrounding Pythaitha and Smith's home on Outlaw Hill Road outside Livingston, a remote area of Montana. When the two women came outside, authorities said, Kyros shot Smith five times, calling her a whore and a beast. Pythaitha, according to court documents, begged Kyros to stop. She "threw herself over her mother's body to stop the onslaught of gunfire," the lawsuit says. Kyros stopped shooting and told Pythaitha "she should be happy the beast is dead."
Kyros was killed by police.
Kyros' attorney who drafted the will, David Gilmore, was originally named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Armstrong claimed Gilmore should have known his client was going to harm Smith and should have contacted law enforcement.
"Defendant Gilmore, who has alleged that Mr. Kyros was insane at the time of his actions, had in his possession information regarding Mr. Kyros's animosity towards Ms. Smith and Mr. Kyros's many ruminations about her death," the lawsuit stated.
The suit alleged that Kyros sent a fax to Gilmore more than a month before the attempted murder and told him that all information about Pythaitha was null and void "for as long as Georgia is alive."
But a Montana judge ruled in April that Gilmore, a New Port Richey attorney, could not have known Smith would be harmed, and his name was dropped from the lawsuit.
The judge ordered the two sides to go into settlement talks. Kyros' estate was estimated to be $600,000 or less, court documents state, and dwindling fast from attorney fees.
From the shooting, Smith is paralyzed in her left arm, the lawsuit said, and will require "a lifetime of care" and further surgery to repair the wounds Kyros caused. Pythaitha and Smith, the suit states, continue to suffer severe emotional and psychological distress.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.