The murder of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty frequently gets attention in the media, judges who face hardened and desperate criminals who appear in their courtroom every day are rarely considered as targets in danger of losing their lives.

Yet, judges are not only the front line in the criminal justice system, to the men and women before them, they represent the “face” of government authority passing judgment and imposing a sentence on them and can become the focus of bitterness and hatred.

Judge Julie Kocurek learned that lesson when three men made an attempt on her life as she sat in her home in Austin, Texas after returning home from a high school football game.

Chimene Onyeri, 28, Marcellus Antoine Burgin, 26, of Cypress, Texas and 24-year-old Rasul Kareem Scott have been named as suspects who plotted the murder after their identity theft conspiracy was uncovered by federal authorities.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the men had been engaged in a complicated scheme involving mail and wire fraud, access fraud of a device, money laundering, bribery of a public official, theft – and murder.

The indictment by a federal grand jury alleges, “when the existence of the their criminal enterprise was threatened, Burgin, Scott and Onyeri, responded with violence,” travelled to Austin for the specific purpose of murdering her.

Onyeri had appeared before Judge Kocurek in 2012, and feared he would be sent to prison for violating the terms of probation she’d laid down at that time.

Burgin, considered armed and dangerous, is wanted and believed to be in the Houston area; Onyeri and Scott are in federal custody.

The 52-year-old judge returned to the courtroom to a standing ovation from lawyers and court personnel after spending nearly two-months in the hospital.



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