Getting away with murder

At the third trial for the 1991 murder of rabbinical student Yankel Rosenbaum, the attorney for Lemrick Nelson admitted in his opening statement, 12 years after the murder, that Nelson in fact murdered him. In 1992 Nelson was acquitted for the murder when his attorneys successfully fabricated the claim that the New York police had framed Nelson with incriminatng evidence.
According to Nelson’s present attorney in a retrial on the federal civil rights charge deriving from the murder, “What happened that night was not something that he was proud of. It was not something he was happy about.” It sounds to me like Nelson plans to take the witness stand at this trial and issue a tear-filled apology: “In a twist, defendant admits to stabbing in ’91 racial unrest.”
Nelson’s formal defense at this trial on the civil rights charge is that, although he murdered Rosenbaum, he did not murder Rosenbaum because he was Jewish and therefore did not violate his civil rights. You can infer another aspect of the defense strategy in Saturday’s New York Times story on jury selection for the trial: “Painstakingly picking a jury in 3rd trial for race killing.” You can infer one more aspect of the defense strategy by comparing the photo of Nelson from his 1997 trial in the first story above with the photo of Nelson entering the court during his current trial from today’s New York Post story: “I killed Yankel.”


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