PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A famed local defense attorney died Wednesday after spending decades working one sensational case after another.
Even into his eighties, Jim Ecker was still defending accused criminals and making headlines.
Ecker died at his Oakland home at the age of 84.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin Reports:
Many people will remember Ecker as they saw him often on TV, during the classic walkover, bringing an accused criminal to court.
He was known for his white hair, sharp suits, suntan and quip-y interviews with reporters.
“Every case I’ve ever had in my life – and there’s been a few of them – seems bad in the very beginning,” he once said in an interview. “The end is what really counts, doesn’t it?”
Ecker spent decades winning in court, for the last three years with co-council Phil DiLucente.
“I was happy we were able to work together,” DiLucente said. “Because quite frankly, we never lost a case together – a jury trial – which doesn’t happen very often. I’m going to celebrate his life. That’s what he would want.”
There isn’t a reporter in Pittsburgh who doesn’t have a story about Ecker.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin once covered a trial about a politician. After the verdict came, Ecker went up to him, carrying a thick scrapbook, wanting to show him pictures of himself in big trial situations.
KDKA’s Ken Rice Reports:
“It’s him with Kennedy, it’s him with Billy Conn, it’s him with Muhammad Ali,” said defense attorney John Elash. “It’s this guy with that guy.”
Elash worked – and won cases – with Ecker for decades.
“Jim Ecker was a classic,” he said. “You will never have anyone like him in the history of Allegheny County, or the world.”
The high-profile cases are too many to count. In one case, Thomas Hose, accused of holding a young girl, Tanya Cash, captive in a McKeesport home for 10 years. At the time, Ecker, as always, was pleased with the outcome he asked for: five years in prison.
“I’m very, very pleased with the verdict as you may realized,” he said. “He was looking at over 100 years.”
Viewing will be held Sunday, Dec. 29 at the William Slater Funeral Home from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A service will be held during the second viewing at 7 p.m.