Lawyers' home bombed

Bombs damage home of law partners

Published: October 1, 2010

Two pipe bombs exploded at the home of a leader of a tragedy-plagued Clayton law firm early this morning, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department confirmed.

No one was hurt in the bombings at the St. Louis home of Beth Boggs and T. Darin Boggs, both of Boggs, Avellino, Lach & Boggs. Beth Boggs heads up the 26-lawyer firm.

The home’s windows were broken and vinyl siding was damaged.

Three lawyers from the firm have died since December 2006, when partner Ernest “Ernie” Brasier was fatally shot in the firm’s office. His death remains unsolved. Clayton Police Chief Thomas J. Byrne said Friday that the case is still an open investigation.

In fall 2007, Dan Bennett died suddenly, as did Vincent Venker, 51, in August 2008. Both men’s deaths were ruled to be from hypertensive heart disease, according a lawyer who knew them.

As of this afternoon, investigators said they are not aware of any threatening messages sent to the Boggses, police spokeswoman Erica S. Van Ross said in an e-mail.

Police added that they have no information at this time about who may have placed the pipe bombs at the house. A joint investigation is being conducted by the Police Department’s Bomb & Arson Squad and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Van Ross said.

Police received multiple calls around 1:07 a.m. Friday describing loud gunshots, fireworks or explosions, she said.

Both pipe bombs were found behind the house, one on the driveway and the other on or near the patio, she said.

This afternoon, no one answered the home telephone, and a receptionist at the law firm said neither Beth Boggs nor Darin Boggs was in the office.

When a reporter and a photographer visited the home just south of Carondelet Park, no one answered the doorbell, and no crime tape was up.

At the back of the house, a concrete patio area and nearby grass were charred; vinyl siding was curled and charred in places from the ground to the roof of the two-story house. Garden hoses, a barbecue grill and a shovel were among items on the patio. One back window’s screen was busted out in a bottom corner and the frame appeared bent. The window glass was cracked.

An across-the-street neighbor, Rania Ghanim, was awake at the time of the explosion, she said. She heard one loud sound – like a gunshot – around 1 a.m. and then another loud sound shortly after, she said.

Afterward, she went outside and spoke to the woman who lives across the street, who asked her if she had seen anything (she hadn’t). She wasn’t positive of the name of the woman, but she said that woman said the explosion was probably gas.

But Ghanim’s brother-in-law, who is an Iraqi-born translator for the U.S. Army, was visiting, she said, and he didn’t think it sounded like a gas explosion.

“Because maybe they don’t want to scare us,” she said about the woman across the street’s explanation of the sounds.

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