Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Frum Community Collecting $$ to get Convicted Frum Murderer Off "Death Row"

Yiddish posters about the case, plastered in Brooklyn’s Jewish community
From Sandy Eller of VIN

The Chareidi community is once again raising funds to prevent the possible execution of a Jewish inmate who they claim is innocent of murder, as described in a series of posters that have cropped up in and around Brooklyn in recent days.
The effort to prove the innocence of 46 year old Howard Bloomgarden is reminiscent of the movement to prevent the execution of convicted killer Martin Grossman which took place in Florida in 2010, as previously reported on VIN News.  Grossman was found guilty of the 1984 murder of Florida wildlife officer Peggy Park and was put to death by lethal injection, despite the protests of thousands of petitioners,  Jewish leaders in both the United States and Israel and the Vatican.
Prosecutors at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office are preparing their case against Howard Bloomgarden for the 1994 kidnapping and murder of two California men, 29 year old Ted Gould and 26 year old Peter Kovach.  Bloomgarden has been serving a 33 year jail term on federal racketeering charges since 1996, having accepted a plea bargain agreement upon the advice of his lawyer, prominent criminal attorney Gerald Shargel.  While the plea bargain ensured that Bloomgarden would avoid the possibility of a life sentence,  it required Bloomgarden to say that he had been involved in the California double murder.
“Howard took the plea so he would not have to go to trial but would instead do his time and come home,” Howard’s mother, Joan Bloomgarden told VIN News.  “In order to do that he was advised to admit his involvement in a murder he didn’t commit.  Little did he know that doing so would set the stage for him to be charged with murder.”
According to reports  in the Daily News Los Angeles, prosecutors obtained a confession from Kenneth Friedman who said that he and three other men abducted Kovach and Gould in an alleged drug dispute between Kovach and Bloomgarden.  Friedman confessed to choking Kovach and then strangling Gould, and was condemned to Death Row in December 2005 by a Los Angeles judge.  Friedman committed suicide in San Quentin State Prison in August 2012.
A case summary prepared by Bloomgarden’s lawyer Jack Earley in July 2012 asserts that Bloomgarden was in Florida at the time of the double homicide and that Friedman refused to implicate Bloomgarden in exchange for a lighter sentence, saying that Bloomgarden had no involvement in the murder.
Rabbi Menachem Katz of the Aleph Institute who visited with Friedman in jail corroborated Earley’s statements.
“I specifically spoke to Kenny face to face,” said Rabbi Katz.  “He told me straight out.  Howard had nothing to do with it.”
In an interview last week with Yiddish news telephone line Kol Mevaser, Earley maintained Bloomgarden’s innocence in the murders and charged that the District Attorney’s office is basing their case on flimsy testimony obtained from two other defendants in the case.

A Kol Korah issued by Rabbis to support the efforts of ‘Dror’ in regards to the Bloomgarden case
“They don’t have any direct evidence of Howard’s involvement in this,” said Earley.  “They only have the words of people who are getting a deal in return for what they said they heard from Kenneth Friedman, who later denied that Howard was involved.”
Rabbi Katz, who is in close contact with Bloomgarden, says that Bloomgarden, who did not grow up as an Orthodox Jew, has turned to his Jewish roots while in prison and has been staunchly committed to his Yiddishkeit for the past ten years.
“He has been putting on tefillin every day for years.  He has been keeping kosher for years and years.  Maybe he never kept Shabbos before in his life, but now he won’t even pick up a pen on Shabbos.”
In a telephone interview last night, from the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, Bloomgarden told VIN News that his murder trial is currently expected to begin on July 29th and he expressed optimism that the case will have a positive outcome.
Sharing his plans for his life once he has finished serving his time, Bloomgarden said, ““I want to start a new life, take care of my parents and do whatever Hashem wants me to.”
Jane Robinson, a media spokesperson at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the case but confirmed that the case is tentatively scheduled for July 29th and will be prosecuted by attorney Geoffrey Lewin.
In an effort to pay their son’s mounting legal costs, Bloomgarden’s parents turned to the Jewish Organization ‘Dror’, which offers assistance to imprisoned Jews and their families.  Dror has taken their appeal to the public with a flurry of posters that have been hung in Williamsburg and the newly created site www.saveajewishlife.org hopes to solicit donations.
Brooklyn businessman Eli Ostreicher, CEO of Regal Wings, is one of those who have taken up Bloomgarden’s cause.
“I don’t get personally involved in a cause unless I do my due diligence,” said Ostreicher.  “There is no question that Howard had a phase where he was young and stupid and fell in with the wrong crowd.  He should be serving his time in jail and then moving on.  To be facing these kind of charges, and the possibility that he could literally face the death penalty is heartbreaking.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding?? Talk about a complete misrepresentation of what happened.


And the Rebbe swears he had nothing to do with it....