The man who died after a struggle with an Auckland pharmacist had several criminal convictions and had spent time in prison for killing a woman in a car crash.
Bruce Allan Jones, 43, died after confronting the owner of a Mount Albert pharmacy in an apparent burglary on Tuesday morning.
Auckland lawyer Matthew Goodwin represented Mr Jones when he was convicted of dangerous driving causing the death of a woman in 2002.
He says Mr Jones was a troubled character who had a drug problem and suffered from the effects of an old head injury.
Mr Goodwin says Bruce Jones was very remorseful about the car crash and said at the time he wished he had died instead of the victim.
Police say they have been unable to identify a clear cause of death from Mr Jones' post-mortem.
They say they are seeking legal advice on some aspects of the case.