Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

California Chronicle: Accused Letter-Bomb Murderer Extradited to U.S. from Israel

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

California Chronicle: Accused Letter-Bomb Murderer Extradited to U.S. from Israel

Article excerpt

California Chronicle: Accused Letter-Bomb Murderer Extradited to U.S. from Israel

Robert Steven Manning, the prime suspect in the 1985 pipe-bomb murder of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) director Alex Odeh, has been extradited from Israel to California to stand trial for the 1980 mail-bomb killing of Patricia Wilkerson, a Manhattan Beach secretary who opened a booby- trapped package on which fingerprints of Manning and his wife Rochelle subsequently were identified.

Under extradition conditions set by Israel, Manning cannot be tried for the murder of the ADC official, or for three other politically motivated bombings in which he is a prime suspect, because they occurred after he became an Israeli citizen. These 1985 incidents include the Patterson, NJ murder of an immigrant to the U.S. suspected by Jewish Defense Organization members of World War II Nazi activities in Europe; the wounding with a bomb of another suspected ex-Nazi in Brentwood, NY; and injuries to two police officers trying to defuse a bomb placed outside the ADC office in Boston. In 1972, Manning was convicted of bombing the Hollywood home of Palestinian activist Mohammed Shaath. The 1980 murder for which he will be tried allegedly stems from a business dispute between a Jewish Defense Organization colleague of the Mannings and a real estate executive who employed Mrs. Wilkerson as his secretary.

A high school drop-out, Manning claims to have received ballistics training in the U.S. Army. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, he was a water supply technician before the Army discharged him after less than one year's service because he was mentally unstable. Immediately after the murder of Odeh, who was killed by a bomb attached to the door of his office, Manning fled to Israel. There he was linked with the ultra-right Kach movement, founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. During the more than seven years he lived in the Kiryat Arba Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Manning and his attorneys used delaying tactics to avoid extradition. One court-ordered delay was based on his statement that he could not be assured of receiving kosher food in American prisons. In his final effort, Manning swallowed 20 sleeping pills just before he was scheduled to board a U.S.-bound plane. TWA refused to transport him for several days until he recovered from the overdose.

After his July 18 arrival in the U.S., Manning was denied bail on the grounds that he might flee and is a danger to the community. In jail he is segregated from other prisoners because bobby pins he uses to attach his yarmulka might be used as weapons.

An extradition request also has been made for Manning's wife, Rochelle, who was arrested during a visit to the U.S. and tried for the Wilkerson murder in 1989. The California jury deadlocked, and she returned to Israel.

Extradition Conditions

Israeli handling of Cleveland, Ohio worker John Demjanjuk, extradited from the U.S. to Israel on charges that he was a sadistic killer called "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in World War II, could set a precedent for U.S. handling of Robert Manning.

Demjanjuk was acquitted of the Treblinka charge in July, after seven years of detention in Israel, but was not immediately released. If the Israeli Supreme Court charges Demjanjuk with other crimes for which he was not extradited, this could set a precedent for U.S. courts to charge Manning with other bombing deaths, including the 1985 murder of Alex Odeh.

Multicultural Demonstration Against ADL Spying in Los Angeles

Young Koreans United of Los Angeles dressed in national costumes, pounding large oriental drums and striking gongs, members of the Coalition Against Black Exploitation and Friends of the African National Congress, and members of other widely divergent organizations carried banners and shouted slogans protesting spying by B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League at a June 22 demonstration in front of ADL headquarters in Los Angeles. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.