Criminal Justice

Lawyer Takes 5th re Bombing at Law Firm Partners' Home, But Protective Order is Denied


In 2006, a partner of Boggs Boggs & Bates was found shot to death at his desk in the law firm’s offices in an upscale St. Louis suburb. His murder remains unsolved despite a $50,000 reward offer.

Then last year, two pipe bombs went off outside the St. Louis home of partner Thomas Darin Boggs and his wife, Beth Boggs. She is managing partner at the firm, which is now known as Boggs Avellino Lach & Boggs. No one was hurt in the bombing, although the side of the Boggs’ home was blackened, and no one has been charged in the crime.

Today, a St. Louis County Circuit Court denied Thomas Boggs’ effort to obtain a protective order against another lawyer who left the firm in 2008, after hearing testimony from that attorney, Mark Bates, who also took the Fifth in response to a number of questions, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Bates, who at last report was working at a partner at another St. Louis law firm, said he had no ill will toward the couple. However, Boggs said in a court filing that he had been told by law enforcement that Bates is the “primary suspect” in the bombings and he testified today that he had been shown surveillance footage of Bates allegedly buying lacquer thinner. Lacquer thinner cans were reportedly found at the bombing site.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Thomas Prebil denied the protective order, saying that the one bombing incident, even if a tie to Bates could be proven, was not sufficient to qualify. Protective orders, he said, can be based on a possible threat from a family member or stalking by any individual, but must involve a series of incidents, according to the newspaper.

It was unable to obtain comment from either Bates or Boggs after the hearing.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “$50,000 Reward Offered in Attorney Death”

ABAJournal.com: “Police Search Home of St. Louis Lawyer, Won’t Say If It’s Related to Law Firm Mystery”

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