We have two cases of lawyers encountering former clients in their homes in stories this week. In one case, Chicago retired attorney Carl Kuhn, 82, was allegedly killed by his former client Terry Bratcher, 43, and another man, Keith Allen, 21. In South Carolina, attorney and state senator R.C. Soles Jr. shot former client Thomas Kyle Blackburn, 22, in his home.
Kuhn’s death is a bit of a surprise since he was reported by the family of dying by natural causes even though his home appeared ransacked. Kuhn had taken Bratcher under his wing and would spend time with him at the movies and visiting at the house. Bratcher and Allen are accused of murdering Kuhn by smothering him with a pillow. Both men have now reportedly confessed. Police report that an armed Bratcher entered the home with Allen and forced Kuhn in a chairlift to a second-floor bedroom, covering his head with a jacket and a pair of men’s underwear. Bratcher told police that he straddled Kuhn and pushed his head into a pillow,
They then stole 43 guns from Kuhn’s valuable gun collection. While in World War II Kuhn had started the collection by mailing home different weapons that he found on the battlefield.
Kuhn practiced criminal law for many years until he was suspended by the bar and then, in 2005, he was disbarred for continuing to serve clients as an attorney while under suspension. Ironically, one of the five charges related to a case in which he represented Bratcher in a traffic case.
For the Kuhn story, click here.
In North Carolina, lawyer and state Sen. R.C. Soles Jr., 74, shot Thomas Kyle Blackburn, 22, in the leg after allegedly trespassing and attempting to break into his home. Blackburn was arrested last year with attempted break in at the home, but the charges were dropped.
B.J. Wright, 23, was also at Soles’ house to speak with him about a tax question and admit that “He did ask us to leave numerous times” and that Blackburn had had a bit to drink. He argued with Soles, who shot him.
Soles is the state’s longest serving senator and has been the subject of investigation himself: including an allegation 12 years ago that he improperly touched a young boy.
What is a bit curious is that Tabor City Police Chief Donald Dowless was called by Soles and sent officers to the home, but ordered the officers not to question the senator or Blackburn about the shooting. He explained this novel approach to police work: s”I didn’t want to know. I’m a rather small department. We don’t have the means and ways of the SBI. He is a high-profile individual in the state legislature and also has a successful law practice here in town.” He insisted that this was to prevent “tarnishing” any later investigation.
For the full story, click here.