Criminal defense attorney changes course after son's murder

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 5 at 10:00 PM

MESA, Ariz. – For Dick and Dan Marco, criminal defense is in their blood.

The father-son duo spent decades defending murderers and rapists. Dan says, "It was our philosophy that protecting the lowest person's constitutional rights protected all our constitutional rights." 

In fact, Dan was planning to have his son 21-year-old Zachary join the family business once he graduated from Arizona State University.

Unfortunately that would never happen. Dan says, "The second the bullet touched my son's skin, I was done."

Zachary was gunned down last fall over his laptop and cell phone. Louis Harper, 20, and Marion Patterson, 17, have since been charged in Zachary’s murder.

While Dan is grateful for the arrests, he realizes he can no longer defend people like the guys accused of killing his son.

He says, "I know I won't ever love it again and I used to love it. I also know in my heart, Zachary would not be happy with this decision.”

Dan is working on setting up a foundation in honor of Zachary.

The mission is to give murdered children a proper send off. Marco says, "Burying a child is probably the worst thing that any parent can do and you need to be able to do it right."

Dan plans to continue practicing law, only now he hopes to help people who have also lost a loved one. "I'm feeling like there is a purpose and that there are people that I can help that I would have ignored before."

It’s a new direction Dan hopes Zachary will understand one day. "He watches everything I do."

If you’re interested in contributing to Zachary’s foundation, donations can be sent to
123 N. Centennial Way # 110, Mesa AZ 85201. You can also read Dan’s blog at www.mysonzack.wordpress.com.

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