High court upholds judgment against Perry March kin

Justices refuse to hear appeal of damage award against murderer's relatives, who refused to give Janet March's belongings back to her family

Tennessee's Supreme Court today affirmed a $222,000 judgment against the brother, sister and brother-in-law of former Nashville attorney and convicted killer Perry March. The court refused to hear an appeal of the verdict, which awarded damages to Larry and Carolyn Levine for the defendants' failure to return property that belonged to their murdered daughter.

The Levines are the parents of Janet March, Perry's wife, who went missing in August 1996 and whose body has never been found. Perry March was convicted of her murder in August 2006 and sentenced to a total of 56 years in prison.

A jury in Davidson County Probate Court found in October 2005 that Ron March and Kathy March Breitowich, brother and sister of Perry March, along with Kathy's husband Lee Breitowich, had engaged in fraud and destruction of personal property. The relatives had not returned furniture and other household belongings (including paintings by Janet March) that Perry March left in their possession.

March cleared out the couple's Forest Hills home several months after his wife went missing and moved, with their children, to Wilmette, Ill. He lived in a house that the Breitowiches owned, and he left behind the property from the Nashville home when he later moved to Mexico.

At trial, evidence emerged that Ron March and the Breitowiches had eventually divided up some of the items among themselves and either given away or tossed out the rest, while stonewalling Janet March's court-appointed conservator and the Levines when asked about the property.

In Tennessee's Court of Appeals, the defendants argued that Judge Randy Kennedy erred in not throwing out the case due to the tolling of the statute of limitations, among other mistakes. The appellate court upheld the verdict in a ruling filed last November.

Attorneys Dan Alexander of Nashville and Fletcher Long of Springfield represented Ron March and the Breitowiches. C.J. Gideon and Gail Ashworth of Gideon & Wiseman in Nashville argued the case for the Levines, who were suing on behalf of Perry and Janet March's children. None of the attorneys could be reached for comment this afternoon.