Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Two killers

These are composite drawings of the two chief suspects in the killing of the husband and mother of Judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago. The man on the left is a white male, age "mid 20s, 5-8 to 6-0, strawberry blonde hair, eyes unknown and medium build. Clothing unknown." The man on the right is a "white male, ages 50-60, hair unknown, eyes hazel and large build. Subject last seen wearing dark green coveralls, black watch cap and grayish/green coat."

According to the Sun-Times, these descriptions probably are derived from witnesses who saw two men lurking about the neighborhood:
Another mystery for detectives is a suspicious car parked outside a church on the Lefkows' block Monday morning.

At 8 a.m., the church administrator at North Shore Baptist Church saw two men sporting "military-style haircuts'' sitting in a red Ford Escort in a no-parking zone on the block, smoking and drinking Cokes, the police report said. The administrator said he asked the men to leave and they did, the report said.

The administrator was interviewed by detectives Tuesday. "It was a little unusual," he told the Sun-Times. "You just don't usually see a car parked there at that time of day."

There was another strange clue (or red herring) thrown in for good measure:
One puzzle is a series of phone calls the Lefkows received Sunday night. Caller ID suggested the calls came from inside a correctional facility, a police report said. When Joan Lefkow answered the first call, she heard nothing.

Investigators were seeking the source of those calls and were focusing on the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, where white supremacist Matt Hale is being held, a source said.

Judge Lefkow also gave an interview to the Sun-Times, saying she feared it was connected to her work:
"I fear that to be true, and that's the great tragedy of it," Lefkow told the Chicago Sun-Times. "If someone was angry at me, they should go after me. It's not fair to go after my family."

The piece also gives us some insight into the pain the killers inflicted on all their victims:
She declined to discuss the details of the probe, but noted the cruelty of it. Her husband was slowed from Achilles' tendon surgery, and her 89-year-old mother used a walker.

"It's just so cruel," Lefkow said. "He was on crutches after some surgery, and they didn't have a chance. It was just cold-blooded. Who would do this? I'm just furious."

Lefkow is now in protective custody, something she said could continue for some time. She is preparing for the funerals, set for Saturday morning at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Evanston. The couple's four daughters have assembled in town. Michael Lefkow also has a fifth daughter from a previous relationship.

"They sob and they laugh about good things that happened and their dad's nutty behavior and various things," Lefkow said of their daughters. "But they're heartbroken. They're heartbroken."

Daughter Helena is to be married this summer, a ceremony Michael Lefkow was eagerly awaiting.

"He had gotten himself a tux to wear to the wedding, and was so looking forward to walking his daughter down the aisle," Lefkow said. "And now he won't be able to do that. The daughters cry and say, 'I never had a grandfather, and I wanted my children to have a grandfather.' "

I hate the phrase "the banality of evil." There is nothing banal about evil. Yes, it always comes wearing the mask of normalcy. That, tragically, is how it slips into our basements. But there is nothing banal about what happens next.

And I notice that no one has gotten around to calling these killers "terrorists" yet. I wonder if they ever will.

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