Family of federal judge who convicted Matt Hale slain
Posted: March 1, 2005
The husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow were found murdered in the basement of her Chicago home. Judge Lefkow presided over a trademark infringement lawsuit against a white supremacist group headed by Matt Hale. Hale was convicted in 2004 for soliciting her murder.
The murders took place just five weeks before Hale is scheduled to be sentenced for his crimes.
Investigators in the February 28, 2005, murders of Michael Lefkow, 64, and Donna Humphrey, 90, have not yet publicly drawn any connections to Hale or his followers. The investigation is still in its early stages.
Matt Hale tried to have Lefkow killed because in 2002 she presided over a trademark lawsuit against Hale’s racist and anti-Semitic group, the World Church of the Creator. Hale was convicted of soliciting Lefkow’s murder in April 2004. His group, now known as the Creativity Movement, has been in disarray since Hale’s arrest in January 2003.
Authorities have been aware for some time that Hale’s group has had a reputation for retaliation. The most notorious such incident occurred in 1999, when Hale follower Benjamin Smith embarked upon a deadly two-state shooting spree, targeting minorities, after the Illinois State Bar denied Hale a law license.
Because of the concern that Hale would urge retaliation after his arrest, authorities placed the imprisoned white supremacist under tight security measures reserved for terrorist suspects that severely restrict his ability to communicate with the outside world.
Similarly, because of concerns over retaliation, authorities put significant security measures in place at the Lefkow home in 2003. However, neighbors said that such measures had lessened.
Hale’s sentencing is scheduled for April 6, 2005.