January 10, 2011
The actions and motivations of U.S. District Court Judge John Roll just before he was shot dead at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s campaign event in Tucson on Saturday are important for the public narrative about the tragedy, but they’re also vital to the federal criminal charge for his murder.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The criminal complaint federal prosecutors filed Sunday against the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, goes to some lengths to demonstrate that Roll didn’t show up at the Giffords event just to say hello to the congresswoman, or on some whim after attending mass, as reports Saturday suggested. That storyline was fueled by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who said “because [Roll] knows Gabrielle very well, [he] came around the corner to say hi. Unfortunately he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
By contrast, FBI agent Tony Taylor argues that Roll was at the event to talk to Giffords about ongoing problems related to a surge in the federal judicial caseload in Arizona–a problem which the judge has attributed to a boost in the number of federal agents sent to the area to address immigration and border-related crime.
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