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New Port Richey attorney sued in connection with Montana shooting

Before Thomas Kyros tried to murder the mother of a teenaged prodigy he was obsessed with — shooting her five times at point blank range, calling her a whore and a beast — he had his lawyer draft up his will.

In it, Kyros, 81, who lived in New Port Richey, established a trust for Promethea Pythaitha, a Greek-American wunderkind who graduated from Montana State University at 14 with a degree in mathematics. Kyros heard about her talent and began supporting her financially. But as his obsession grew, Pythaitha and her mother, Georgia Smith, withdrew.

He blamed Smith.

In his will, he 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 November 2010, Kyros left his home on Putnam Circle for the first time since 1986. He gave his neighbor a key to his house, money to pay for the newspaper and lawn care and said he was going to Montana.

Kyros traveled 2,430 miles to Bozeman, Mont., to be near Pythaitha, who was then 19. There, he bought a firearm and, on Jan. 17, he gunned down Smith outside of her home, with Pythaitha watching. Kyros was killed in a shootout with police. Smith survived her injuries.

Kyros' lawyer, New Port Richey attorney David Gilmore, has recently been named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Montana by Smith and Pythaitha against the Kyros estate. The suit alleges that Gilmore knew his client was in Montana and had enough evidence to know he was plotting something malicious and should have contacted law enforcement. Gilmore did not respond to an interview request by the Times. He is also executor of Kyros' estate.

"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 states.

The suit alleges 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."

Gilmore owed Smith and Pythaitha "a duty" to contact law enforcement and possibly prevent the tragedy that occurred, states the suit, which was filed by Montana attorney Jason Armstrong. He declined to comment for this story.

Smith and Pythaitha were not able to be reached.

The federal suit does not specify how much money the two women are seeking from the estate. But a separate claim filed in probate court in Pasco County asks for at least $2 million from the estate.

It's unclear how much money Kyros had when he died.

"Theoretically the man could be broke," said Ellen Deutsch Taylor, a Tarpon Springs attorney who represents Smith and Pythaitha in the Florida probate claim. "You could win the suit and not have anything. That could be an outcome."

She doesn't believe that is likely, though. She said as the case winds its way through the court process, the worth of the Kyros estate will become more clear in discovery. Her probate case comes after the Montana lawsuit, which could take months or years, she said.

"A lot of it is in the control of the judge there and how fast the judge pushes the case," she said.

New details revealed

The Montana lawsuit reveals more chilling details about the day Kyros tried to kill Smith. Kyros came armed with a handgun and carrying a satchel full of cash and documents naming Pythaitha his beneficiary.

According to the suit, Kyros rammed his car into the fence surrounding the home Smith and Pythaitha shared just outside Livingston, Mont. Smith heard the noise and came outside.

He fired the first shot into her neck. She fell to the ground partially paralyzed. Pythaitha ran outside and shouted for Kyros to stop. He ignored her and fired four more rounds into Smith.

"While shooting at her, and aiming for the groin, he was calling her a whore and a beast in both English and Greek," the suit states.

Pythaitha "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."

He went to his car, got his satchel and threw it over the fence to Pythaitha, who had called 911. Officers arrived before he could leave the scene. The document states Kyros fired upon law enforcement, who returned fire and killed him.

Smith is paralyzed in her left arm and will require "a lifetime of care" and further surgery to repair the wounds Kyros caused, the lawsuit said.

It says Pythaitha, who was covered with her mother's blood that day, and her mother have suffered severe emotional and psychological distress from the shooting. Both have nightmares.

Roots of an obsession

Smith and Pythaitha's uncomfortable dealings with Kyros had been going on for years — and it seemed many people knew of Kyros and his obsession.

At first, he was a benefactor. Smith told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in a 2009 profile of Pythaitha that she worked cleaning houses and they struggled to come up with tuition money.

"Generous benefactors have stepped in to help," the story said.

Kyros, who read of Pythaitha's genius years ago, was one of those benefactors. At least, that's what Kyros told people. He called Pythaitha his "favorite grandchild" and claimed to have sent her $17,000 for her studies. He told her to call him "pappoulis," which means little grandfather.

"I promised as long as pappoulis is alive, you're not alone," Kyros told Pythaitha.

But then Pythaitha began spurning his money and gifts.

Kyros had been calling the Chronicle's newsroom for more than a year, demanding an investigation. He blamed Smith for being shut out of the teenager's life. He told the newspaper he felt Smith was keeping Pythaitha prisoner.

"Promethea is a slave, she's in bondage," Kyros told the Chronicle. "I want to liberate Promethea."

He admitted he hired a private investigator to check into the family and told the Chronicle that Smith ruined Pythaitha's future by sending her to Montana State University. She should have been at Harvard or another Ivy League university, he said.

"He kept writing, writing, harassing," Pythaitha told the Chronicle in a 2009 interview. "He did not know me from Adam.

"He says I should leave home, move out. He'd come and oversee my life. ... He said, 'You're brainwashed, your mother's this, your mother's that.' He called Mr. Nelson, the (Montana State University) registrar, he started making crazy suppositions. Either the man is disturbed, (or he's) making horrendous slanders and lies."

By 2009, Kyros had not heard from Pythaitha for two years — but he couldn't forget her, he told the Chronicle.

The suit said in the days before the shooting, Pythaitha "had sought, and Kyros signed, a no stalking order."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

New Port Richey attorney sued in connection with Montana shooting 10/19/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 8:59pm]
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