Loretta Marra and Dennis Malvasi, a Brooklyn couple accused of aiding James Kopp, confessed assassin of Dr Barnett Slepian, appeared in court for a detention hearing on Friday. Marra and Malvasi admitted to helping Kopp avoid capture when he was wanted for the 1998 murder of abortion provider Dr. Slepian. They have been charged with obstruction of justice and aiding a fugitive, charges that carry a maximum sentence of ten years.
After a plea deal agreed upon by US Attorney Kathy Mehltretter and Marra’s and Malvasi’s lawyers was rejected twice by Buffalo district judge Richard Arcara, the case was moved to a court in New York City, where it was expected that the plea deal would be again on the table. Arcarra accused the US Attorney’s office of “judge-shopping” and believes that when the charges are brought before another court, the plea deal he rejected will be “rubber-stamp[ed]” for approval, according to the Buffalo News. It is unclear at this time how Kopp’s recent admission of guilt in the murder of Dr. Slepian will affect the trial of his accomplices. “With Kopp’s confession,” stated Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation president, “Marra and Malvasi certainly should not now receive a plea deal from the federal authorities and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to help shut down this terrorist network.”
At the hearing, Bruce Barket, lawyer for Marra as well as Kopp, argued that Marra should be released from jail as her family could post collateral of up to $1 million that would ensure her from flight, but also because she claims she wants to be with her two children. However, Mehltretter told the court that both Marra and Malvasi are flight risks and should be further detained, to which Judge Roanna Mann agreed. Upon entering the courtroom, Marra mouthed to family members present, “We’re screwed.” Marra also hurled an insult at Mehltretter before US Marshals escorted her out of the courtroom.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation 11/20/02; New York Daily News 11/23/02