A man who shot himself to death during a traffic stop in Wisconsin claimed in a suicide note that he killed a federal judge’s husband and mother, a source close to the investigation told The Associated Press Thursday.
Chicago Police Department spokesman David Bayless identified the man as Bart Ross.
WMAQ-TV in Chicago also reported Thursday that it had received a handwritten letter signed by Ross in which he describes breaking into the house of Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow around 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 28 with the intent to kill her and anyone else.
* Man Claims to Have Slain Judge’s Family
* Jackson Trial Resumes After Arrest Threat
* Secret FBI Report Questions Al Qaeda Capabilities
Lefkow had ruled against Ross in a civil case involving a medical-malpractice lawsuit, a ruling that was upheld by a federal appeals court in January. Ross, 57, was also being evicted from his home and had a court date Thursday.
Lefkow found the bodies of her husband, attorney Michael Lefkow, 64, and her mother, Donna Humphrey, 89, on the basement floor of the Lefkow home the evening of Feb. 28.
Suspicion immediately turned to white supremacist Matthew Hale, who had been convicted of soliciting Lefkow’s murder after she ruled against him in a trademark dispute. Investigators insisted, however, that Hale’s followers and other hate groups were just one focus of the investigation.
In the letter to WMAQ, Ross said he waited all day in a utility room in the basement and shot the judge’s husband after being discovered. Ross said he then shot Lefkow’s mother after she heard the gunshot and called out to her son-in-law.
“After I shot husband and mother of Judge Lefkow, I had a lot of time to think about life and death. Killing is no fun, even though I knew I was already dead,” the station quoted the letter as saying.
Ross said he stayed in the house until about 1:15 p.m. before deciding to leave, according to the letter.
The suicide note found in the van indicated that Lefkow had ruled against Ross in a civil case, costing him “his house, his job and family,” the Chicago Tribune reported, citing unidentified sources. The note also included details in the slayings that were not released to the public, Tribune Deputy Managing Editor James Warren said in an interview on CNN.