Judge John McCarthy Roll will be buried today in Tucson, after being gunned down in the parking lot, at the Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords event on Saturday January 8.
Roll is familiar to many Irish Americans because he presided over one of the most high profile IRA trails in American history.
Six men, four Irish natives, were prosecuted for trying to send arms to the IRA in 1989. Their case came before Judge Roll, an Irish Catholic, originally from Pittsburgh in 1994.
All were acquitted after Roll told the jurors that the prosecution had failed to produce “a smoking gun”
Prosecuting the men was Janet Napolitano, then the U.S. Attorney and currently Secretary for Homeland Security.
The six men were charged with a plot to buy 2,900 explosive detonators and ship them to the IRA. However, none of the six were alleged to have been present at the purchase of the detonators in 1989.
The FBI made extensive use of wiretaps and other recorded comments involving the defendants and other alleged co-conspirators but the judge and the jury found they did not have enough evidence to convict .
The men accused were Thomas Maguire, 37, New York, James Brannigan, 33, New York, Patrick Moley 32, all citizens of Northern Ireland who had resident alien status in the United States; Denis Leyne, 56, born in the Irish Republic and a resident alien in Toronto; John Lynch, 46, Sebastian, Fla., and William Kelly, 54, Fort Pierce, Fla.
Roll limited the scope of the trial to keep out testimony about the bloody history of political strife in Northern Ireland but won the respect of the defense lawyers for his even and balanced rulings.