Lawyer is slain in his home by man who wrongly connected him to 1997 case
Steve Griffith/Courtesy Griffith, Lowry & Meherg
An Alabama lawyer was shot and killed on Monday evening by a man who wrongly believed for the last decade the lawyer was involved in a 20-year-old criminal case against him.
The lawyer’s wife, Jackie, killed the suspect, Patrick Walker, sources told AL.com. Jackie Griffith is hospitalized.
Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry said at a news conference on Tuesday that Walker had mental illness and he targeted Griffith over a 1997 case, even though Griffin had no involvement in it.
Court records indicate the case was related to marijuana possession, according to AL.com.
Gentry said someone else in the home killed Walker after a long struggle, but did not identify the person. He did say, however, that Walker did not die from a gunshot.
Gentry said the lawyer’s slaying was “a failure in our society of treating mental illness.” Outpatient treatment doesn’t work, he said, because patients don’t always take their medicine.
Mental illness “is a subject we’ve talked about many times,” Gentry said. “It is a subject that makes me angry. It is an issue we all need to stand up and fix.”
Griffith, Lowry & Meherg released a statement on Facebook. “Our hearts are broken,” the statement said. “We have lost our senior partner, our mentor, our friend. No one will ever be able to replace Steve Griffith. He was larger than life. We will miss him more than words can express. Our hearts and prayers go out to Steve’s family.
Griffith was a graduate of the University of Alabama law school and had practiced law for 49 years. His father and grandfather were judges.