The security officer fired by Target Stores for his role in the search for slain Ventura homemaker Sherri Dally has agreed to a financial settlement to resolve his differences with the giant department store chain.
"He's not going back to Target," said Alan Templeman, attorney for former security officer John Avila. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed due to a strict confidentiality provision, the lawyer said.
Avila, 36, was on vacation and unavailable for comment.
Admitting its mistake, Minneapolis-based Target Stores offered to reinstate Avila in his $31,000-a-year job after his mid-June firing became a public relations nightmare--even prompting a boycott by some customers.
But Avila refused to go back because the chain wanted to transfer him to a store in Oxnard or Camarillo, away from the manager who fired him. Avila lives within a mile of the Ventura store where he worked.
"I didn't want to go to Oxnard or Camarillo," Avila said then. "I wanted my job back in Ventura. In my mind, reinstatement means to the same place."
Avila, an old friend of Dally, used company letterhead, four walkie-talkies and the store parking lot to help organize a series of searches that eventually led to discovery of the woman's body June 1 in a ravine north of Ventura--more than three weeks after she was abducted from the parking lot of Target's store in Ventura.
Superiors dismissed him for "detrimental behavior." But four days later, chagrined officials apologized in a public statement: "Target made an inappropriate decision to terminate John Avila, and we are sorry for the anguish that this has caused our employee and the family of Sherri Dally."
As for the future, Templeman said Avila's job prospects are good and that he expects to be hired next week as a security official by a store in Santa Barbara after a final job interview.
"He's had several job interviews, but he says it's a job he's really interested in," Templeman said. "It's a security-type position."