Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 65° Clear
News >  Nation/World

Note, DNA tie man to murders of judge’s husband, mother

 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Ross (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Chicago A man who filed bizarre, rambling lawsuits over his cancer treatment and shot himself to death during a traffic stop appears to be the lone killer of a federal judge’s mother and husband, police said late Thursday.

DNA on a cigarette butt found after the killings matches that of Chicago electrician Bart Ross, who claimed responsibility for the slayings in a suicide note, authorities said Thursday night.

Chicago police spokesman David Bayless said the state crime lab confirmed the link and that the evidence points to Ross being the lone killer.

“The DNA match, with all the other evidence, certainly convinces us that Ross is the offender in the Lefkow family homicide,” he said.

Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow described Ross as “a very pathetic, tragic person” in an interview with the New York Times published on the newspaper’s Web site Thursday night.

“I guess on one level I’m relieved that it didn’t have anything to do with the white supremacy movement, because I feel my children are going to be safer,” she said, referring to the fact that white supremacists had earlier been suspected in the slayings. “It’s heartbreaking that my husband and mother had to die over something like this.”

Police Superintendent Phil Cline said earlier Thursday that in addition to the suicide note, Ross also fit a witness description of a man seen leaving Lefkow’s home the day of the killings.

Ross, 57, committed suicide Wednesday outside Milwaukee in West Allis, Wis., after a police officer pulled him over because of broken taillights on his van.

Cline would not speculate on what Ross was doing in the area. But at least one other judge who ruled against him lived there. And a source close to the investigation told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the suicide note, found in Ross’ van, contained the names of judges.

Lefkow came home Feb. 28 to find her 64-year-old husband, Michael Lefkow, and 89-year-old mother, Donna Humphrey, shot to death in the basement.

Cops accused of being Mafia hitmen

New York Two police detectives led double lives as Mafia hitmen, kidnapping and killing rival gangsters and giving confidential information to the mob for more than a decade, federal prosecutors charged Thursday.

One of the suspects, Louis Eppolito, wrote an autobiography titled “Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob,” which dealt among other things with what he described as false charges of Mafia involvement.

He and his former partner, Stephen Caracappa, were arrested Wednesday night at a restaurant off the Las Vegas Strip, law enforcement officials said. The pair have been living in Las Vegas, across the street from each other, since retiring in the early 1990s.

Each is charged with eight murders, two attempted murders, murder conspiracy, obstruction of justice, drug distribution and money laundering.

“These corrupt former detectives betrayed their shields, their colleagues, and the citizens they were sworn to protect,” U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said.

The pair appeared late Thursday in federal court in Las Vegas but did not enter pleas. The hearing was postponed until today.

Surgeons: Clinton surgery successful

New York Surgeons successfully removed fluid and scar tissue from Bill Clinton’s chest cavity Thursday, cleaning up complications from the former president’s heart bypass operation of six months ago.

Clinton was “awake and resting comfortably” after four hours of surgery, said Herbert Pardes, president of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. “We expect Mr. Clinton to be walking” within 24 hours.

His wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea, were with him and were said to be elated by the successful surgery and a prognosis from one of his surgeons for an “even better than a full recovery.”

Pardes said Clinton, 58, was expected to spend three to 10 more days in the hospital. A tube to drain fluid from the left lung will be removed in two to five days.

Casino pays $10,600 for pretzel

Lincoln, Neb. An Internet casino that previously bought a partially eaten grilled cheese sandwich now has a pretzel that some believe is shaped like the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus.

Antigua-based Golden Palace Casino swooped in about 30 seconds before bidding closed Wednesday evening on the Internet auction site eBay.

The winning bid: $10,600.

“What it says to me is that this pretzel is so much more than an edible item. We only paid $3.29 for the whole bag,” said Machelle Naylor, who sold the snack from her St. Paul home.

The likeness of the Virgin Mary also was seen in the grilled cheese sandwich for which the Golden Palace paid $28,000 to a Florida woman in November.

Naylor’s 12-year-old daughter, Crysta, said she discovered the Rold Gold honey-mustard-flavored pretzel while snacking and watching television with her family on Feb. 27.

Man shocked into giving urine sample

Orlando, Fla. A police officer kneeled on a drug suspect’s chest to restrain him and twice used a Taser stun gun after he refused to provide a urine sample at a hospital, authorities said.

Antonio Wheeler, 18, was arrested Friday on a drug charge and taken to an emergency room after telling officers he had consumed cocaine, police said.

At Florida Hospital, Wheeler refused to provide a urine sample and was handcuffed and secured with leather straps to a bed, where hospital workers tried to catheterize him, a police affidavit said.

Officer Peter Linnenkamp reported he jumped onto the bed with his knees on Wheeler’s chest to restrain him. When Wheeler refused to be catheterized, Linnenkamp said he twice used his Taser, which sends 50,000 volts into a target.

“After the second shock (Wheeler) stated he would urinate and calmed down enough to be given the portable urinal,” Linnenkamp wrote.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating; Linnenkamp has been relieved pending the investigation’s outcome.

In a jailhouse interview, Wheeler said he resisted because he was afraid the catheterization would hurt. “I feel I was basically raped,” he said.

A hospital spokeswoman said officials were “examining all of the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.