Anti-abortion extremists Loretta Marra and Dennis Malvasi pleaded guilty yesterday to aiding James Kopp while he was wanted by the FBI for the murder of abortion provider Barnett Slepian, MD. The couple accepted a plea deal that allowed them to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in helping Kopp avoid capture, according to the Buffalo News. Marra and Malvasi will be sentenced on July 11. Prosecutors say that the two face four to five years in prison, but lawyers for the couple argue that they should receive much shorter sentences, according to the New York Times. Based on the amount of time the couple have already served while awaiting trial, they could be released immediately following sentencing, the Times reports.
Marra admitted in court to sending money to Kopp while he was on the run abroad, and Malvasi, a convicted clinic bomber, admitted that he "knew Kopp was wanted" when he made the offer to let Kopp hide out in his Brooklyn home, according to the Associated Press. "Marra and Malvasi are part of an underground terrorist network dedicated to eliminating and intimidating providers of abortion, a constitutional right," said Glen Murray, a pro-choice lawyer in New York who is close to the Slepian family, according to the Buffalo News. "Iím not surprised that a plea bargain was entered, but I hope that the court will take into account that they have been the catís paw of a terrorist network and not show leniency."
Kopp was convicted last month of the intentional murder of Dr. Slepian, who was killed in a sniper-style shooting in 1998 in his Amherst, New York home. Kopp, who faces 25 years to life in prison, will be sentenced on May 9 by Erie County Judge Michael DíAmico. He still faces federal charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Kopp has also been indicted for the 1995 shooting of Ontario abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short and is the primary suspect in three separate shootings of abortion providers in Canada and New York.
Media Resources: New York Times 4/16/03; Buffalo News 4/15/03, 4/16/03; Associated Press 4/15/03; Feminist Daily News Wire