The Firms

August 27, 2010 1:03 PM

Tragedy at Barnes & Thornburg

Posted by Brian Baxter

UPDATE: 9/7/10, 11:25 a.m. A police report made public on Friday contains new details into the shocking murder-suicide that took the life of Mary Jane Frisby.

Mary Jane Frisby, a former IP partner in Barnes & Thornburg's Indianapolis office, was found dead in her home on Thursday, hours after her husband committed suicide across the street from her old firm, according to The Indianapolis Star.

Frisby's body was found late Thursday after a lone gunman, who turned out to be her estranged husband, went on a shooting spree in the downtown Indianapolis neighborhood where the firm is located. The gunman, while on the rooftop of a parking garage located across the street from Barnes & Thornburg's office, fired shots into several buildings before he killed himself with a shot to the head and fell eight stories to the street below. The incident led the firm and the neighboring state court to temporarily close their offices, Indiana Lawyer reports.

Barnes & Thornburg business and technologies practice chair Donald Knebel told Indiana Lawyer that the external walls of the firm's office were penetrated by two bullets. An e-mail distributed firmwide at about 3:30 p.m. on Thursday alerted employees to the situation and requested that people move to the center of the building and refrain from going outside.

More details emerged later Thursday. After the gunman was identified as 58-year-old David Frisby, police found a note and tape recording in his car leading them to the body of Mary Jane Frisby. In a message posted on Facebook, David Frisby condemned the law firm his wife recently left for an in-house job at Columbus-based engine manufacturer Cummins, according to local television reports.

Mary Jane Frisby, 44, was found strangled to death in her home in nearby Hendricks County by police late Thursday. Authorities say she recently had sought a divorce from her husband, though the two were still living together. According to local news reports, David Frisby was a retired faculty coordinator from Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis.

Barnes & Thornburg managing partner Alan Levin has released the following statement: "Mary Jane was a valued member of Barnes & Thornburg for several years. She will be missed by all of us. This is a very sad day for the firm."

Frisby is survived by an adult son and teenage daughter, neither of whom were home at the time of her killing, The Star reports.

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