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Extremists applaud murder of judge's relatives

By Henry Schuster
CNN

Editor's Note: Henry Schuster, a senior producer in CNN's Investigative Unit, has been covering terrorism for more than a decade. Each week in "Tracking Terror," he reports on the people and organizations driving international and domestic terrorism and efforts to combat those. He is the author of the newly published book, "Hunting Eric Rudolph."

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(CNN) -- Investigators still don't know who is responsible for the murder of a Chicago judge's husband and mother on Monday, but white supremacist Web sites are applauding the killings.

Judge Joan Lefkow, 61, was once targeted for death by a white supremacist leader, but officials said there was no clear link to the killings.

Extremists on the Internet "are expressing satisfaction that they have been killed. Judge Lefkow has been vilified in these circles the past three years," explained Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL monitors a number of extremist sites on the Web and has been keeping close watch on the message traffic since the murders.

A posting on an Aryan Nations message board reads: "If you are doing the bidding of the enemy YOU ARE THE ENEMY!"

The white supremacist connection is being investigated because Lefkow ruled against Matt Hale and the World Church of the Creator three years ago in a copyright dispute. Hale, who leads the strongly racist group, was later convicted of soliciting the murder of Lefkow and is currently awaiting sentencing.

Another posting on an extremist message board says: "Well, I for one hope this was the work of some 'lone wolf' targeting those who aid or support or have connections with someone involved in acting against our race, or someone who has acted against those -- like Matt Hale -- who have stood up for our race."

The message concludes, "Let's hope it's only the beginning."

The ADL's Pitcavage said there is also a strong degree of paranoia and caution in the messages showing up on these sites.

In some cases, he said, the moderators of extremist message boards have been warning those posting such comments to watch what they say, because the federal government is monitoring them.

"They are trying to twist the significance of the murders," said Pitcavage, by implying that the killings would be used as an excuse to give Hale a longer prison sentence.

Lefkow, 61, found the bodies of her husband, Michael, 64, and mother, Donna Grace Humphrey, 89, when she returned home Monday evening. They had been shot to death. Police have released composite sketches of two men they want to interview in the case.


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