Attack recalled

In a magazine article, Nevada District Judge Charles Weller said he knew of Darren Mack’s hostility toward him before Mack’s assassination attempt.

“I was suddenly being anonymously criticized on the website of an organization that usually argued that family courts are unfair to men,” Weller wrote. “I contacted a member I knew. He named the person responsible for the internet attacks. It was the fellow who eventually shot me.”

In addition, Weller—who presided over Mack’s divorce—became aware of someone’s unhealthy interest when a bogus ad for an imaginary motorcycle sale at Weller’s home was placed in the Sparks Tribune’s Big Nickel. And the dogs at Weller’s home were barking during nights immediately preceding the attempt on his life, he wrote.

Mack later pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife Charla to death during a custody exchange on June 12, 2006, then drove to a downtown parking garage where he fired shots from a high powered rifle into Weller’s office across the Truckee River. Weller was injured by glass shards from the thick, double-layered window glass that was blasted inside, and his administrative assistant, Anne Allison, was hit with bullet fragments.

Weller’s article was published in Case in Point Magazine, a publication of the National Judicial College, based in Reno. The piece contains information for judges to use in protecting themselves from violence. Weller, who studied court-related violence at the NJC after the attack on him, has been speaking to law enforcement and judicial groups on the topic.

Weller acknowledges that such violence is rare, that “the likelihood that any individual judge will become the victim of a targeted attack is statistically small.”

“The unplanned, spontaneous outbursts of violence that sometimes occur in courtooms are not usually targeted violence,” he wrote. “Targeted violence is a premeditated attack intended to injure a specific individual or individuals. More than half of the perpetrators of targeted violence intend to kill. … It is uncommon for a courthouse attacker to have accomplices. Most act alone. … Forty years of record keeping show that the person most likely to be killed in courthouse violence is the perpetrator.”

Data also shows nearly all courthouse violence occurs in family court-type cases.