Mack Asked for Death Penalty

A Reno man charged with the stabbing death of his estranged wife and the shooting of their divorce judge asked for the death penalty as a condition of his surrender in Mexico, court documents show.

Darren Mack made the request during a series of e-mails and telephone calls to Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick following the crimes last June 12. The former businessman was arrested June 23 in Puerto Vallarta and now awaits an Oct. 1 trial.

"I will ask for the death penalty," Mack wrote the prosecutor.

A transcript of the phone calls was released for the first time Thursday in a district court motion filed by Mack's attorneys, who claim the recordings should be tossed because they were illegally recorded by Gammick.

Gammick denies the allegation, saying he had a federal court order to record the calls.

Mack was charged with the murder of Charla Mack and the attempted murder of Family Court Judge Chuck Weller, who has returned to the bench since being shot in the chest while in his office. Mack has pleaded not guilty and recently added an insanity plea to his defense.

After Mack returned to Reno, Gammick recused himself from the case because of his friendship with Mack and his involvement in his surrender.

Outside prosecutors took over the case last summer and later announced they would not seek the death penalty against Mack.

The first recorded call occurred a week after the crimes and followed an e-mail that Mack had sent to Gammick outlining the conditions of his surrender.

"Did you get the e-mail?" Mack asked.

"Yes," replied Gammick, who then began reading each item Mack listed.

"Number one, I will surrender only to Richard Gammick and who he wants to bring," the prosecutor said. "I trust him. I am unarmed and will go peacefully."

Another condition: Mack wanted another friend, Reno lawyer Mike Laub, to join Gammick at the surrender.

Then, Gammick read Mack's request to be executed.

"That one I cannot answer for you at this time," Gammick told Mack. "We've got laws that have to be met. I cannot promise you we're going to get you the death penalty."

As a condition of his surrender, Mack also sought a computer so he could communicate with the media about problems in the family court system that are "destroying people."

"I did what I did," Mack told Gammick. "I'll tell you what it is, and if I need to die for it, I will. That's it."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)