Sunday, December 10, 2006

AP says shooter Jackson felt deceived concerning his invention

In the shootings on the 38th floor at 500 W Madison St. in Chicago on December 8, 2006, the AP is repeating the theme that the shooter felt cheated out of an invention by a patent attorney:

The gunman who went on a deadly shooting spree in a downtown high-rise law office went to the building in search of an attorney because he felt cheated over an invention, authorities said Saturday.

The direct target of the shooting was Michael R McKenna (att. reg. no. 32,368), who was a solo practitioner who rented space on the 38th floor from the law firm of Wood, Phillips. AP continued:

[The shooter] Joe Jackson, 59, made at least one other attempt Friday [Dec. 8] to enter the offices of the intellectual property law firm Wood, Phillips, Katz, Clark & Mortimer, but was turned away because he didn't have an appointment, said Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline.

The next time he returned, Jackson had a revolver, knife and hammer hidden in a manila envelope, Cline said. He forced a security guard at gunpoint to take him up to the 38th floor, where shooting victim Michael McKenna, 58, rented office space. Jackson carried McKenna's business card in his pocket, Cline said.

Then Jackson chained the doors behind him, grabbed a hostage and started shooting, as he ranted to witnesses that he had been deceived over his invention, a toilet for a truck, Cline said.

There have been some questions raised about the actions of the security guard, who escorted Jackson to the 38th floor, and then apparently who left the scene. There was some confusion on whether the guard knew Jackson had a gun or whether the gun was concealed. AP reported here:

Authorities did not fault the security guard for taking Jackson to the 38th floor.

"This guy's telling him, 'Take me upstairs. Don't say anything,'" Cline said. "He followed instructions."

About 45 minutes elapsed between the first 911 calls and the SWAT team shooting, police said. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said police did a "tremendous" job.

The three murder victims are McKenna (58, a graduate of Kent Law), Allen J. Hoover, 65, of Wilmette (a graduate of DePaul Law), and Paul Goodson, 78, of Chicago, a retired school teacher (who was an employee of Wood Phillips). McKenna's paralegal, Ruth Zak Leib, 57, of Oak Park, was shot in the foot.

The Honolulu Advertiser noted: Patent, trademark and copyright law attorney Michael R. McKenna, 58, of Chicago, had offices in Kailua, Kona.


Chicago's CBS2 gave some background on shooter Joe Jackson:

But friends and family of Jackson say he is the one who felt he had no choice after spending thousands of dollars trying to get an idea patented for a special in-cab toilet seat that could be used by truck drivers.

Longtime friend and pastor C.L. Sparks says Jackson later learned the idea had been patented by someone else.

Someone Jackson believed was related to McKenna, the attorney Jackson had retained to help him patent the idea.

"This was more like, this is my savings I'm investing in this, and these people are playing with my savings," Sparks said.

Sparks believes Jackson, who he describes as kind and gentle, just snapped Friday, after years of frustration over the business deal gone badly.

** CBS2 also talked about the security guard:

"Mr. Jackson arrived at the building and asked to go upstairs and was told he didn't have an appointment," said Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline. "He then came back, gave the security guard a note, a piece of paper. He then pointed the envelope at the security guard's side, told him he had a gun in there and the security guard escorted him up to the 38th floor… So, under the circumstances, I don't think the security guard had any choice."

**Text in the Journal-Gazette (ASHLEY M. HEHER) suggests that Joe Jackson did not recognize McKenna:

Jackson shot McKenna's paralegal, Ruth Zak Leib, in the foot, police said. Her husband, Larry Leib, told the Chicago Tribune that Jackson ordered his wife at gunpoint to identify McKenna.

"He didn't even know who Mr. McKenna was," Larry Leib said. "He was so oblivious, she had to tell him who he was looking for. He had a gun to her head."

People who knew Jackson did not depict him as dangerous:

"He was a nice person, but that's all I know," said neighbor Betty Monroe.

"I believe he just snapped," son Darrin Jackson, 39, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I believe he was just frustrated."

Family and neighbors were bewildered Sunday how accounts of the gun-toting, ranting killer could match the person they knew: a father and churchgoer who lived on the city's West Side.

**The Chicago Sun-Times got into some of the details of the patent issue. In particular, they identify the possible confusion Joe Jackson may have had over McKenna stealing his idea:

If Jackson did see the name -- McKenna -- on a toilet-related patent, it may be from the Boston-based Cesari and McKenna firm that has no relation to Michael McKenna [who was, and had been, a solo practitioner in Chicago] . The Boston firm has served as attorney/agent on 18 toilet-related patents, though none that appear too similar to Jackson's idea.

The Chicago Sun-Times worked through the history:

Jackson had a commercial driver's license and worked most of his life driving a taxi or a truck.

It was on those journeys that he came up with his plan to invent a portable toilet for truckers. Family members interviewed Saturday said they never heard a name of the invention and only saw one blueprint -- something he showed his sons 2½ years ago at a funeral.

And even then, he was growing concerned that an attorney -- whom police identified as McKenna -- wanted the idea for himself. Jackson told his family that after not hearing from his attorney, he did research on the Internet and found what he believed was evidence the lawyer had patented the idea.

And it wasn't just that he was taking the idea -- McKenna's law office apparently had dismissed Jackson, hanging up on him and adding to his pain, Brenda Jackson said.

Several months ago, during a chat with his downstairs neighbor, Jackson shared his frustration.

"I'm supposed to be rich right now,'' he told Holly Booker. "I'm supposed to be rich." [IPBiz: And, in his mind, Joe Jackson would have been rich "but for" his patent attorney.]


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