CHICAGO – Bart Ross wrote his typed suicide note the day before he claimed he left his Chicago home to live in his van and two weeks before he fatally shot U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow's husband and mother, according to a published report.
Ross, 57, an unemployed electrician, committed suicide March 9 in a Milwaukee suburb. After he killed himself, police and federal agents found a note in his van in which he implicated himself in the Feb. 28 murders of Michael Lefkow (search), 64, and Donna Humphrey (search), 89.
"When you read this I should be dead, so I am writing in past tense," he wrote in the four-page letter dated Feb. 13 obtained Tuesday by the Chicago Tribune.
The letter echoed a handwritten note he sent to a Chicago television station shortly before he killed himself that called judges terrorists, doctors Nazis and declared himself the victim of medical malpractice.
But the letter also contained a hit list of seven federal judges, four state judges, 10 lawyers and five doctors, according to the newspaper.
"I was left with no possibility to live my life, but to progressively suffer more and more, so like those who jumped down from the WTC Towers on September 11, 2001, I 'jumped' too.
"On the way, I intended to send to Hell as many of the listed [expletive] as I was lucky to get," Ross wrote, according to the Tribune.
Ross' troubles began years ago. A heavy smoker, he was treated for cancer of the mouth from 1992 to 1995 at the University of Illinois-Chicago Hospital (search) and its clinic.
Surgery to remove part of his jaw bone and radiation saved Ross' life. But the treatment disfigured his face and started Ross on a journey through the court system in search of someone who would make his doctors pay for what they'd done.
As case after case was thrown out of court, Ross became angrier and his behavior increasingly erratic.
Judge Lefkow had dismissed the most recent of his repeated lawsuits last year.
Nine days after the Lefkows were shot to death, a police officer in West Allis, Wis. stopped the van Ross was driving because a taillight was broken. When the officer approached the van, Ross shot himself in the head.
Police found sacks of clothing in the van, the typed letter and a handwritten note similar to the one mailed to WMAQ-TV in Chicago in which he described breaking into Lefkow's house around dawn with the intent to kill the judge.
A few hours before Ross was in West Allis, his minivan was issued a $20 ticket about four blocks from a Milwaukee federal courthouse where two federal judges who upheld dismissals of Ross' lawsuits have offices. One of the judges' on Ross' hit list worked there, the Tribune reported.
Ross ended his suicide letter, titled "To Whom It Should Concern," saying he wanted to cause pain to everyone on his list.
"I regret that I cannot torture this [expletive] the way they tortured me for over 12½ years and I regret that I cannot at least send them all to Hell," he wrote, according to the newspaper.