Federal judge remembered as a fair jurist

Judge John Roll, the federal jurist slain in the Arizona shooting rampage, was known for presiding over tough immigration cases but he was remembered as much for a gentler side, a man devoted to...

Judge John Roll, the federal jurist slain in the Arizona shooting rampage, was known for presiding over tough immigration cases but he was remembered as much for a gentler side, a man devoted to family who enjoyed walking his beloved basset hounds.

One week ago, he had stopped by a supermarket meet-and-greet for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and was killed, along with five others. The congresswoman, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, was still in critical condition, but progressing.

His funeral Friday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic church came a day after the youngest victim, Christina Taylor Green, was eulogized there,'

Authorities, meanwhile, revealed new details about the suspect's final hours. Jared Loughner, 22, posed for photos with a gun, dressed only in a bright red G-string, and had the film developed on the eve of the rampage, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to do so.

The detailed timeline of Loughner's busy 11 hours before the shooting also had Loughner checking into a motel, posting "Goodbye friends" on the Internet and buying bullets from a Walmart.

As those specifics surfaced, at least a half-dozen lawmakers around the country met with constituents at gatherings similar to the "Congress on Your Corner" meeting where Giffords was shot. The events, they said, sent a message that violence would not keep them from meeting face-to-face with constituents at supermarkets, hardware stores or anywhere else.

The events, however, were held amid tight security, as was Roll's funeral. There, police officers and SWAT team members patrolled.

News organizations were barred from the event at the request of Roll's family and for security reasons. The Associated Press interviewed mourners as they left the service and got an account of the funeral.

Roll's older brother, Ed, told mourners that his family moved to Arizona from Pittsburgh when Roll was a child because their mother's health was failing and doctors thought the weather might help.

When Roll's mother eventually died, of a heart condition, the future judge was just 15.

Her death deeply affected him and he changed his middle name from Paul to his mother's maiden name of McCarthy "to keep that part of the family alive," said Carol Bahill, 61, whose husband knew Roll from his undergraduate and law school days at the University of Arizona.

Many members of Roll's family, including his sons and five grandchildren, participated in the funeral Mass and speakers also included a childhood friend, his chief clerk and a colleague on the federal bench.

The service ended with a rendition of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling."

Dignitaries attending included Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as well as Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl. Former Vice President Dan Quayle brought a handwritten message from former President George H.W. Bush, who appointed Roll to the bench in 1991, said Adam Goldberg, a spokesman for the fire department and the event.

Before Jan. 8, Roll, 63, was known for the death threats he received after his ruling in a border-crossing case two years ago. He needed 24-hour protection after he said 16 illegal immigrants could file a civil rights claim against an Arizona border rancher.

Roll had stopped by Giffords' event after attending Mass to see the Democratic lawmaker and thank her for her fight for more federal judges in southern Arizona to help with a dramatic increase in felony federal cases linked to illegal immigration.

Kyl and McCain said they will propose that a soon-to-be constructed federal courthouse in Yuma, Ariz. be named the "John M. Roll United States Courthouse:"

The speakers at the funeral, however, did not dwell on Roll's killing. They focused on lighthearted moments from his life.

The judge's lifelong friend, Rev. John Lyons, recounted how as boys it was not uncommon for Roll to find himself sitting on a different kind of bench — the one outside the principal's office.

Other speakers joked that Roll was "spatially challenged" and got lost driving to McDonald's. He once backed his car into his own garage and on another occasion ran into someone's classic Jaguar.

"That's always a good thing to hear, that people do things like that, like the rest of us do," Bahill said. "It made him very human."

Some of Roll's neighbors said they never suspected his line of work, particularly because Roll never seemed pretentious and enjoyed everyday activities, such as walking his two basset hounds every morning and spending time with his wife and grandchildren.

"He was just a neighbor," said George Kriss, 70, adding that the last time he saw Roll a few weeks ago, "he had blue jeans on and just a very normal shirt and was hanging onto a couple of leashes."

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