BOLT FROM BLUE * U.P.I., Shreveport, LA -

Maverick lawyer N. Graves Thomas stood in a boat during a thunderstorm, raised his hands and proclaimed heavenward, "Here I am." Moments later a lightning bolt struck him dead, witnesses said.

The lightning struck Thomas, 40, in the head Monday aboard his new ski boat on Lake Bistineau.

Three people were in the boat with Thomas and a woman was in the water preparing to ski, despite heavy storms that had rumbled through much of the state, officials said.

A doctor on a houseboat nearby, tried to revive Thomas, who was pronounced dead at Riverside Medical Center.

A former state prosecutor and assistant U.S. attorney, Thomas was at the time of his death representing Ronald Richie of Lake Bistineau, who was accused of recklessness in a boating accident this month that killed three people on the lake.

Attorneys who worked with or against Thomas described him as a firebrand and a maverick but a strong advocate for his often notorious clients - including police killers, reputed mobsters and drug smugglers.

Pastor Keith Graham, 1997
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