A Leesburg man yesterday agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a $3.75 million wrongful-death suit filed after he was acquitted of murder after fatally shooting his neighbor following an argument over rowdy skateboarders.

The settlement puts to rest the claim Margaret Eldridge filed against Robert Lorenz in Loudoun County Circuit Court in February in connection with the death of her husband, Duren. The case drew national attention in January after a jury acquitted Lorenz, 54, who had claimed he shot Duren Eldridge in self-defense even though Eldridge, 31, was unarmed.

Under the terms of the agreement, Margaret Eldridge will receive $19,000 and $1,000 will go to her teenage daughter. Eldridge's attorney, Doug Fleming, will get $10,000. Lorenz also will drop his $4 million counterclaim against the Eldridge estate. Lorenz did not admit liability in Eldridge's death.

In the countersuit, which was filed Feb. 26, Lorenz had accused Duren Eldridge of assault, intimidation and harassment. Lorenz sought to recover costs for medical and legal bills that stemmed from the incident.

Lorenz said he agreed to settle because the costs of the dispute were becoming overwhelming. "It's economics, pure and simple," he said. He said the total costs have reached $200,000 in lost work, hiring experts and paying for lawyers.

Fleming said his client decided to settle because "it appeared the continuation {of the lawsuit} from a psychological standpoint was not going to be in the best interest of the daughter . . . a child that's trying to piece together her life."

"I think everyone would acknowlege that the dollar figure in no way reflects the value and quality of Mr. Eldridge's life. Any life is priceless," Fleming said. Margaret Eldridge, who has moved to California and could not be reached for comment, had asked for $3.75 million to compensate for her husband's lost wages, the loss of companionship and her child's loss of a father, Fleming said.

According to testimony in the trial, Duren Eldridge started the late-afternoon argument by shouting obscenities at Lorenz and then banged on Lorenz's front door and challenged him to a fight. Eldridge, a truck driver, was upset that Lorenz had called the police to complain about teenage skateboarders who were visiting Eldridge's daughter.

Eldridge, who had been drinking heavily before the argument, never displayed a weapon and did not enter Lorenz's house, according to trial testimony.

Lorenz's attorney argued that he feared Eldridge was about to attack him. Prosecutors told the jury that the shooting was a premediated act that followed months of bad blood between Lorenz and Eldridge.

After three days of deliberations, the jury acquitted Lorenz of first-degree murder and several lesser charges.

"I feel strongly against what happened," Lorenz said. "It was a tragedy for everyone involved. You know, till this day I have no idea why that man came over here. We didn't have a running feud."