Chicago federal judge Joan Lefkow and her surviving family members were moved to an undisclosed location under round-the-clock security after her husband and mother were found shot execution-style, the Chicago Tribune reports. “Whoever entered [Lefkow’s home] was there with the specific intent to harm anyone they found inside,” a source said.
While white supremacist Matthew Hale’s 2004 conviction for trying to have Judge Lefkow murdered loomed at the forefront of the investigation, authorities maintained it was too soon to conclude that any hate group was behind the murders. Security measures for other judges and prosecutors involved in the Hale case also reportedly have been increased. Investigators have all but ruled out burglary or robbery as a motive for the killings because no valuables were taken from the home. If the murders are linked to Lefkow’s judicial duties, the Federal Judiciary Protection Act, passed by Congress in 2002, could come into play. A person convicted of trying to intimidate or retaliate against a federal judge–including by killing a family member–would be eligible for the death penalty.