Hate group link played down in murder case

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The Independent US

Police in New York refused to make a definitive link between the killing of a judge's mother and husband with a white supremacist group that once targeted her in a failed murder plot.

Police in New York refused to make a definitive link between the killing of a judge's mother and husband with a white supremacist group that once targeted her in a failed murder plot.

The judge, Joan Lefkow, the wife of murdered lawyer Michael Lefkow, 64, has been placed under federal protection after returning to her Chicago home from work to find the bodies in the basement. Alongside her husband was her mother, Donna Humphrey, 89. Both had been shot in the head.

Detectives acknowledged speculation linking the deaths to a white supremacist who was convicted last year of soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill Mrs Lefkow but they said it was simply one aspect of the case being investigated.

Police chief, James Molloy, said: "There is much speculation about possible links between this crime and the possible involvement of hate groups," he said. "This is but one facet of our investigation. We are looking in many, many directions but it is far too early to draw any definitive links."

Judge Lefkow received police protection after a white supremacist, Matthew Hale, was arrested in 2003 but protection was discontinued after his conviction when the threat was deemed no longer viable.

Prosecutors alleged Hale was angry after Judge Lefkow ruled that Hale could no longer use the name "World Church of the Creator" for his group because another organisation had a copyright on that name.

Hale, 33, is awaiting sentence and his father said he was under constant surveillance.

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