Threats against judge and attorney not taken lightly

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 23, 2005, 1:05pm

Madison County sheriff's deputies carefully screen all visitors entering the courthouse.

A threat made against a Madison County judge and an Edwardsville attorney by a man involved in divorce proceedings, prompted heightened security at the courthouse March 23.

An anonymous letter allegedly written by Erik Stolle, who is undergoing a divorce from his wife Mary Stolle, was received at the Circuit Clerk's office on March 18.

According to a source in the Circuit Clerk's office, the letter threatened "to kill the judge, her attorney and anyone else" if he had to pay any more child support.

The letter was turned over to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

Tension around Associate Judge Lewis Mallot's courtroom where Stolle was scheduled to appear for a hearing was high.

A picture of Stolle was posted at the courthouse entrance for deputies' alert. Undercover sheriff's officers and other city police officials were strategically placed throughout the courthouse.

When Mary Stolle’s attorney, Erin Riley, entered the courthouse she was immediately met with a security detail that followed her every move while in the courthouse.

Sources tell The Record that all four tires on Riley's vehicle had been slashed.

Don Bridick, security director for the courthouse would not comment or confirm the threats.

In the end, Stolle never appeared in court Wednesday as he has hired a new lawyer, Fred Steiger, who has requested more time to review the case.

Judge Mallot set a special hearing for April 7 at 9 a.m.

In 1996, Circuit Judge Ann Callis was placed in protective custody after Kelly McGinnis of Greenville murdered his ex-wife’s attorney. Authorities were worried McGinnis would also retaliate against Callis because she presided over the couple's divorce proceedings.

Callis also was threatened in 2000 by a man who was involved in a murder in Alton.

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