Fugitive Mack tops FBI’s Most Wanted list
RENO (AP) – The mothers of both the victim and the husband accused of killing her were among some 500 mourners who attended Charla Mack’s private funeral service Tuesday as the FBI added Darren Mack to its list of “Most Wanted” fugitives.
Darren Mack, 45, the wealthy former co-owner of a Reno pawn shop, hasn’t been seen since the June 12 stabbing death of his estranged wife and the sniper shooting of Family Court Judge Chuck Weller, who was wounded in the chest.
The FBI gave Mack top billing on it’s Web site list for “Most Wanted” fugitives, describing the dark-haired, 5-foot-11, 190-pound man as a bodybuilder and hunter with “access to all types of weapons.” He should be considered “armed and dangerous,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said.
Bomb materials, ammunition and written allegations of corruption against Weller – who was handling the couple’s pending divorce – were found in Mack’s town house, police said in court documents.
Scott Freeman, a Reno lawyer, said he had been retained by Darren Mack’s family to represent him “when and if he is found.” Freeman said he had not heard from Mack since he disappeared.
Charla Mack’s mother, Soorya Townley, and the dead woman’s brother, Christopher Broughton, accompanied Darren and Charla Mack’s 8-year-old daughter, Erica, to the funeral. Also attending were Mack’s brother, Landon Mack, 43, and his mother, Joan Mack, with whom Darren Mack shared ownership of the pawn shop until last summer.
“I really think the important thing now is to find Darren but not to have all this vengefulness,” Townley told a Reno television station Monday. “I don’t think Charla really would have wanted that.”
It was not clear if Mack’s two teenage children from a previous marriage attended the funeral.
Reporters were kept about 100 yards from the mortuary during the private service, and Charla Mack’s family declined any comment, said Wayne N. Reynolds, president of Mountain View Mortuary.
Security workers with walkie-talkies chased TV camera operators off neighboring properties that Reynolds said the mortuary owned. Reporters also were banned from the neighboring cemetery where Charla Mack was buried after a service that lasted more than an hour.
Reynolds said in a statement that family members wanted no media coverage of “their final moments with Charla during the ‘Celebration of Charla’s Life.”‘
“This tragic event has deeply traumatized two wonderful families who while experiencing their own grief, are working feverishly to provide the love, nurture, caring and assistance in the grief process of three beautiful children and this ‘Celebration of Life’ needs to protect them from any further trauma of having their private emotions aired on the evening news,” Reynolds said.
Weller was shot through the window of his third-floor office in the downtown courthouse. He is under police protection as he recovers.
Authorities said they were uncertain whether Mack had fled the country. Mueller said anyone with information on Mack should contact the FBI or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
A search warrant affidavit first disclosed by the Reno Gazette-Journal on Tuesday said officers found several boxes of ammunition and an empty gun case with a receipt for a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle equipped with a laser sighting device at Mack’s town house, where Charla’s body was found in the garage in a pool of blood in the hours after Weller was shot.
Officers also found notes and printed material that “contain allegations that Weller was corrupt and had exhibited favoritism in his rulings,” the affidavit said.
A witness told police that Mack “discussed hiring him to follow Judge Weller in the hope of proving that he was corrupt.”
“That same witness described Mr. Darren Roy Mack as seeming to him to have been ‘at the end of his rope’ and extremely frustrated and angry with both his estranged wife and Judge Weller,” the police affidavit said.
Mack’s cousin, Jeff Donner of Moraga, Calif., said last week that Mack called him about 11:19 a.m. June 12. Donner said Mack wanted him to “carry my message of what’s been going on in his courtroom if anything happens to me.” Weller was shot at about 11:05 a.m.
Mack earned more than $500,000 a year and had a net worth of $9.4 million as recently as 2004, according to court documents.
On the Net:
FBI Most Wanted: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted.htm