Obituaries

Gunman Suspected of Killing Lawyer Wife, Then Himself, Described as Kind, Gentle


A gunman suspected of strangling his wife, a former Barnes & Thornburg partner, before firing at the law firm and then killing himself was described as kind and gentle by family and friends.

The lawyer, 44-year-old Mary Jane Frisby, had filed for divorce on Aug. 18 and resigned from her firm on Aug. 20, according to an Indiana Lawyer report on the tragedy. About a week later, she was found dead in her Brownsburg, Ind., home after her husband, 58-year-old David Frisby, shot himself in a parking garage and left a note leading police to her body. The law firm had gone on lockdown after its exterior walls were hit by two bullets.

David Frisby had reportedly left a message on his Facebook page blaming the law firm for having “corrupted my wife Mary Jane” and saying its lawyers did not respect the institution of marriage.

Until 2003, David Frisby had worked as a faculty and staff coordinator at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the same school where the couple’s 21-year-old son, Sam, is a student, according to IndyStar.com’s Crime & Courts blog.

“Please let the events of August 26th teach us as a society that marriage is truly hard work, and these examples of extreme measures cause nothing but pain and tragedy,” Frisby wrote in a message to the blog. “I just want to move on with my life and make something of myself, turn into the man my parents knew I could one day become, but sadly will never see.”

The couple’s 18-year-old daughter, Cassandra, had physical and mental disabilities and David Frisby was her primary caregiver, according to a friend of the Frisbys, Kiersten Quick. “He was not a monster,” she told Crime & Courts. “He was a good person. He was a good-hearted and devoted husband and father. … This was something shocking and out of the blue. Something snapped.” In the days before the slaying, he had developed an alcohol problem, his relatives said, but had been a kind and compassionate man.

Friends of Mary Jane Frisby, an intellectual property lawyer, described her as knowledgeable, bright and willing to share her ideas informally and in continuing legal education courses, according to the Indiana Lawyer story. She had been set to start work today in the corporate legal department of Cummins.

Senior U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney told the Indiana Lawyer that Mary Jane Frisby was a former clerk who “was a scholar and excellent researcher who was really intrigued by the law and you could just tell loved it so much. This is just incomprehensible.”

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