Criminal Justice

Deaths of prominent husband-and-wife lawyers are under investigation

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Police in suburban Chicago are investigating the deaths of two prominent lawyers who graduated from Harvard Law School and practiced together as partners at a Chicago law firm.

The married couple was 69-year-old Thomas Johnson and 67-year-old Leslie Ann Jones. They were found dead in their Oak Park, Illinois, home Monday night after a request for a welfare check, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Police said the deaths occurred “under suspicious circumstances,” but none of the injuries appear to have been self-inflicted.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office said the lawyers were stabbed and their deaths were homicides, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The couple was partners with Johnson, Jones, Snelling, Gilbert & Davis. Both had formerly worked at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, according to online resumes here and here.

Johnson may be best known for his role as a hearing officer for the Chicago Police Board, which conducts police disciplinary hearings, according to the Chicago Tribune. Last year, he oversaw hearings for four police officers accused of covering up wrongdoing by an officer who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald as he was walking away with a knife in his hand.

A lawyer who defended police officers before Johnson, Daniel Herbert, said Johnson used to help youths from broken homes.

“He literally saved their lives from just helping them out financially, legally,” Herbert told the Chicago Tribune. “He became a father figure for a lot of these kids. … These kids turned out to be amazing human beings with great jobs and great families, great community leaders. His tentacles have reached into so many great areas with his philanthropic work. The world is a much better place because of him.”

Johnson has handled cases for differing clients, including large corporations and impoverished people. He has litigated cases at all levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court. His areas of interest include employment issues of workers and unions, housing and real estate, the First Amendment, election law, health law, public benefits and criminal defense.

Jones focused on litigation related to health care, employment, zoning, civil rights and housing, as well as corporate and real estate transactions. She has also taught ethics at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law and was a fellow in its legal clinic.

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