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Baltimore, MD - Vicious 1969 Killer Of 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish Girl, Due To Be Retried, Dies In Prison

Published on: December 28, 2015 05:48 PM
Last updated on: December 28, 2015 09:47 PM
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Wayne Stephen Young, charged in the slaying of Esther Lebowitz, is taken into Baltimore police headquarters by homicide detective Sgt. Harry Bannon in this 1969 photo. Young, who has been behind bars since then, died on Dec. 23, 2015. (Photo by Baltimore Sun Courtesy to VINnews.com)Wayne Stephen Young, charged in the slaying of Esther Lebowitz, is taken into Baltimore police headquarters by homicide detective Sgt. Harry Bannon in this 1969 photo. Young, who has been behind bars since then, died on Dec. 23, 2015. (Photo by Baltimore Sun Courtesy to VINnews.com)

Maryland - Baltimore’s Jewish residents are feeling a sense of justice today after receiving word that the killer of a 11 year old Bais Yaakov girl who was due to be retried by the state on a technicality died last week in prison. 

 File photo of 11 year old girl Esther Lebovitz who was killed in 1969 File photo of 11 year old girl Esther Lebovitz who was killed in 1969

As previously reported on VIN News, Wayne Stephen Young was convicted of the brutal killing of 11 year old Esther Lebovitz in September 1969.  Lebovitz had stopped at the tropical fish store owned by Young on her way home from school, her body found two days later in a ditch near her home.

Lebovitz had been bludgeoned in the head 17 times and authorities suspect that she had also been molested.
The North West Citizen’s Patrol, a community watch group, released a statement today saying that they had been informed by the Maryland State Attorney’s Office that Young died on December 23rd of natural causes in the Jessup, Maryland jail where he had been incarcerated. 

The State’s Attorney’s Office did not return repeated calls for comment on the matter.

While Young admitted to killing Lebovitz during a polygraph test administered by police, his was one of many cases in Baltimore that was being revisited after a Maryland court ruled in 2012 that convictions prior to 1980 were invalid because instructions given to the jury violated the defendants’ constitutional rights.

Members of Baltimore’s Jewish community turned in large numbers out at a court hearing March 2014 to protest Young’s possible retrial.

1969 FILE - A somber crowd gathers near a hearse carrying the body of Esther Lebowitz in 1969. (Photo by Baltimore Sun Courtesy to VINnews.com) 1969 FILE - A somber crowd gathers near a hearse carrying the body of Esther Lebowitz in 1969. (Photo by Baltimore Sun Courtesy to VINnews.com)

“We spent a lot of effort making sure that he stays in jail,” NWCP president Nachman Schachter told VIN News.  “We came down en masse when the case first came up.  The judge voted in our favor but the appeals court overturned that about 60 days ago.”

According to The Constitution Project website, more than 200 people had been expected to challenge their convictions under the ruling, called the Unger decision, with more than 80 granted some form of relief as of August 2015.

“In other cases defendants were let out, with many let out on the streets,” said Schachter. “This was so brutal they weren’t going to let him out, but they were going to retry the case.”

Young’s 1970 murder conviction, handed down by a jury who rejected the defense’s claim of temporary insanity in under half an hour, was vacated by Maryland’s second highest court in late November, paving the way for a new trial, according to reports in The Baltimore Sun.

Young had challenged his conviction several times during the course of his life sentence.  Young’s 2013 attempt, based on the Unger decision, was denied by a Baltimore circuit court in 2014, when Judge Edward Hargadon ruled that instructions given to the jury were sufficient, but that ruling was overturned in mid November by a Court of Special Appeals, setting the stage for a new trial.

Word that Young, who was 70 years old at the time of his death, would never be freed was welcome news for Baltimore’s Jewish community. 
“The community had been holding its breath on this because of what he did and how he did it,” said Schachter.  “We are breathing a sigh of relief.”

Below video: Members of Baltimore’s Jewish community turned out at a court hearing March 2014 to protest Young’s possible retrial.


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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 28, 2015 at 06:09 PM Maven Says:

Good riddance!!!

May the family and the entire Klal Yisroel know no more of Tzurus.

2

 Dec 28, 2015 at 06:27 PM Anonymous Says:

46 yrs have passed .... the tragedy is still very fresh .

3

 Dec 28, 2015 at 11:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Unfortunately he was a jew.

4

 Dec 29, 2015 at 03:13 AM bubby Says:

For the parents, it will never go away. What a heartbreak.

5

 Dec 29, 2015 at 07:06 AM Anonymous Says:

In lieu of this horrible crime, I can't understand why there are still Yidden, including those on this site, who are against the death penalty! In other countries, this killer would have been executed a long time ago.

6

 Dec 29, 2015 at 12:40 PM and now... Says:

the real punishment begins yesh din

7

 Dec 29, 2015 at 12:54 PM Erlich Says:

Sadly, there have been other murders by deviant Jews of little children. A few years ago the tragedy in Boro Park. In 1977, Toronto was shocked by the murder of a non-Jewish shoe shine boy in the downtown area by three deviants, including a Jew. Wikipedia has an entry on this.

8

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