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Law Clerk Slain, Suspects Charged

Sad news from the U.S. Virgin Islands, where a young lawyer who had recently moved there was found dead yesterday, murdered in an apparent robbery. Gabriel Lerner, 27, was a graduate of Georgetown University Law School who moved to St. Thomas in January to work with a law firm there. He later became a law clerk to V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar. He was sworn into the Virgin Islands Bar Association just last week. (Note: I am a member of the V.I. bar.)

He was last seen Saturday, just a day after his swearing in, driving away in his car after jogging with another clerk. When he failed to show up to work for two days or reply to text messages, Judge Hollar reported him missing Tuesday morning. That afternoon, police spotted two males driving his car. When police tried to pull them over, a five-hour chase ensued, involving federal and local law enforcement officers, K-9 teams and helicopters.

By the time police finally apprehended the pair and brought them into the Superior Court building, onlookers broke into applause, according to The Virgin Islands Daily News. Police continued to search for Lerner into Wednesday, when they finally located his body along a dirt path, according to The Chicago Tribune. The two suspects, 22 and 17, are being held without bail on charges of murder, robbery and kidnapping. Another report said that Lerner was on his way to a Bible event Sunday morning when he picked up the pair hitchhiking.

Lerner grew up near Milwaukee, Wis., and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison before going to law school. His sister told The Chicago Tribune that his friends were all jealous of his move to St. Thomas. "He was offered a job down there ... and thought how can you pass up an opportunity to work down in paradise, instead of cold Wisconsin." The Tribune reports that on his Facebook profile, Lerner wrote, "I would like to be the most successful lawyer to play guitar for a ... hard rock band, and/or vice versa. I hope to accomplish this while becoming a leader in the Baha'i community too. Am I crazy? Oh yeah." Our condolences to all his family and friends.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 30, 2008 at 11:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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