Friends hope to honor slain Somerset lawyer through endowment fund

Mark Stanziano
Mark Stanziano

Classmates of slain defense attorney Mark Stanziano have launched an effort to fund an endowment in his name to benefit law school students at the University of Louisville.

Stanziano, a 1982 graduate of U of L's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and one of the state's top criminal defense attorneys, was shot and killed June 27 outside his office in downtown Somerset.

Family and friends of Stanziano have said they think the man charged with murder in Stanziano's death, Clinton Inabnit, 40, has mental problems. Stanziano, 57, reportedly had offered to pay for Inabnit to go to the doctor and help get him on medication just days before the shooting.

Inabnit has pleaded not guilty.

Several of Stanziano's classmates started a drive to collect money for an endowment in his name to support the criminal law moot court team at the law school.

"We hope to keep Mark's legacy alive by helping students improve their skills in the criminal law field," those behind the fund drive said in a message to other graduates.

J.P. Davis, director of development at the law school, said the school now has to raise money annually for the moot-court team. The endowment would provide more reliable funding for the team, he said, adding that the school would make up the difference if the endowment didn't generate enough income.

Davis said he would like to see $25,000 in donations. Several of Stanziano's classmates pledged a total of $5,000 last week within 24 hours of the campaign being announced, he said.

"He was very well-respected," Davis said.

Stanziano's widow, Bethany Stanziano, said Sunday that there couldn't be a more suitable way to honor him. He loved the art of defense law and loved teaching young attorneys, she said.

"I can't imagine anything that would bring more honor to Mark," Bethany Stanziano said. "Mark could be proud to have his name on this scholarship. What a beautiful legacy."

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