Baltimore, MD - Vicious 1969 Killer Of 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish Girl, Due To Be Retried, Dies In Prison
Last updated on: December 28, 2015 09:47 PM
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.
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.
“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.
More of today's headlines“New York - Whole Foods Market Inc has agreed to pay $500,000 to resolve an investigation into whether the supermarket chain charged too much for some prepackaged foods...” New York - Whole Foods To Pay $500,000 To Resolve NY City Overcharging Probe “Lacey Township, NJ - Officials say they are investigating after a hoverboard caught fire in a New Jersey shore town. Lanoka Harbor firefighters said Monday they...” Lacey Township, NJ - New Jersey Officials Investigating Hoverboard Fire