More Security for Judges, Families Sought

Murder of federal judge in Chicago prompts call for security assessments for judges


CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge called for the government to provide more security to judges and their families Wednesday following the killings of a colleague's husband and elderly mother, who were shot in the head in the basement of the family home.

A possible fingerprint and a bloody shoe print had been found at the judge's home, a source said Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen, who was with U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow after she discovered the bodies of her relatives Monday, was the first federal judge in Chicago to publicly voice such concern since the deaths.

Police are investigating whether Lefkow or her lawyer husband were the targets of hate groups or others who may have been seeking revenge over the couple's professional decisions. The killings came a month before white supremacist Matthew Hale is scheduled to be sentenced for trying to have Lefkow killed over her handling of a trademark case involving the name of his group.

"This horrible tragedy has got to serve as the basis for a substantial increase of security for judges and their families," Andersen said in an interview with The Associated Press. "The Internet is plastered with information about every one of us and I fear and my family certainly fears that these kinds of incidents are going to be repeated unless there is a very high priority placed on the safety of judges and their families."

Lefkow and her family were placed under the protection of the U.S. Marshals Service after the killings.

The judge found the bodies of Michael Lefkow, 64, and Donna Humphrey, 89, when she returned from work Monday evening. Both had been shot multiple times, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

A federal source, who spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said investigators had discovered what appeared to be a fingerprint on a shard of glass from a broken window at Lefkow's house. The glass was flown to Washington for analysis at the FBI laboratory, the federal source told the AP.

The source also said a bloody shoe print, possibly that of a suspect, was found at the home.

Investigators believe the two victims were forced to lie on the basement floor before being shot, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.

A source told the AP that police found two .22-caliber shell casings at the scene.

Authorities were looking into the source of several phone calls Lefkow and her family received Sunday night that might have come from a correctional facility, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday, citing a police report. Police also were investigating reports that a mysterious car was parked near the home Monday morning, the Sun-Times and Tribune reported.

Police said the possibility that the slayings were committed by hate groups was "but one facet of our investigation" and cautioned against jumping to that conclusion.

As recently as last year, federal authorities took the murder plot that Hale hatched seriously enough that they provided protection for Lefkow for at least a few weeks and Chicago police stepped up patrols of her neighborhood. The Lefkows also took their own security measures, installing cameras on their front porch, said Mike Miner, a senior editor at the Chicago Reader and longtime friend of the couple.

Hale's father, retired East Peoria policeman Russell Hale, dismissed the notion that his son was involved in the slayings, saying he is under constant surveillance at the federal correctional center in Chicago and the FBI closely monitors his phone calls and visits with family members.

"There would be no way he could order anything," said Hale. "It's ridiculous."

Lefkow was nominated to the U.S. District Court bench by President Clinton in 2000. She has sentenced defendants in the political corruption case involving former Gov. George Ryan, decided the mental fitness of a man suspected of shooting a police officer and ordered the makers of Beanie Babies to pay $700,000 in a trademark case.

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