Published March 04, 2005
CHICAGO – The FBI announced a $50,000 reward Friday for information leading to the identification of anyone involved in the slayings of a federal judge's husband and mother, and the judge thanked supporters for their "goodness and decency" in the face of evil deeds.
No one has been declared a suspect in the slayings of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow's (search) relatives, and FBI Agent Robert Grant (search) said Friday "we don't know at this time who did this murder."
He said investigators were looking at all angles, and white supremacists were one logical direction. White supremacist Matthew Hale is scheduled to be sentenced next month for soliciting an FBI informant to kill Lefkow.
"Obviously, Matt Hale and his prior conviction for threats to Judge Lefkow is an avenue of investigation that we're going to explore," Grant said.
Hale has been questioned in the jail where he is awaiting sentencing and denies any involvement, his parents told The Associated Press.
"There is no way that any supporter of mine could commit such a heinous crime," Hale said in statement released Thursday through his mother. "I totally condemn it."
Lefkow arrived home after work Monday to find her husband, attorney Michael Lefkow, 64, and her mother, Donna Humphrey, 89, slain in the basement. Both victims had been shot multiple times, according to the Cook County (search) Medical Examiner's office.
On Friday, Lefkow thanked the thousands of people who have offered condolences to her family.
"Expressions of your own grief and sympathy have allowed us to endure these dark days and to face the future without two people that we loved so much," Lefkow said in a statement.
"We will never allow evil deeds to overcome the goodness and decency which inspired you to reach out and touch us and to help sustain us in our hour of need."
Lefkow also said she planned to return to her job and would not be intimidated by the killings. In the Hale case, she had ordered him to change the name of his extremist group as part of a trademark lawsuit.
Police have released sketches of two "persons of interest" seen near Lefkow's home the day of the slayings, and experts are analyzing several pieces of evidence from the home and neighborhood, including a broken window with a fingerprint, a bloody footprint and cigarette butts.
The investigation has drawn attention from the top levels of federal government. Grant said his agents were updating the director of the FBI three times a day, and President Bush was being briefed on the progress.
More than 200 tips have poured into a hot line about the slayings, said Chicago Police Deputy Superintendent Hirim Grau. Asked about the need for the reward, Grant said it might help reach people who otherwise wouldn't come forward.
"There are people who are motivated by many different things, and some people are motivated by money, especially in the criminal element," he said.