Victims in Mark Salling’s child ponography case will lose their restitution following his suicide.
The former Glee actor’s victims will not be able to collect the $50,000 in restitution that he agreed to pay in his October plea deal since his death on Tuesday came before his March 7 sentencing date, according to legal experts.
“At the point of sentencing, which hasn’t happened, there would be a restitution order and the judge would have legally enforced this $50,000 per victim agreement, meaning he’s on the hook,” Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Hart J. Levin tells PEOPLE. “He was never sentenced, so that agreement becomes null and void. There’s no recourse through the criminal court to collect that money.”
Ann Gottesman, a criminal defense attorney in Pasadena, agrees, “Since he wasn’t sentenced, the case is actually going to be dismissed.”
Salling, who died at the age of 35, was arrested in Dec. 2015 after LAPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit obtained a search warrant for his home in Sunland, California. Federal investigators said they found more than 25,000 images and 600 videos depicting child pornography on computers and thumb drives that belonged to Salling. The content depicted children as young as 3 years old being abused, according to court documents.
He pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor in October and was expected to serve four to seven years in prison along with having to pay the $50,000 in restitution to victims.