Jewishupdates's Blog

January 25, 2010

Jewish Inmate Convicted Of Murder To Be Executed In Florida

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 2:10 am

Jewish Inmate Convicted Of Murder To Be Executed In Florida

Gov. Charlie Crist has signed a death warrant for Martin (Michoel Yechiel) Grossman, a Jewish inmate,convicted of murdering a Pinellas County wildlife officer in 1984.

Grossman is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Feb. 16 at 6 p.m.

Grossman was 19 years old when he and a friend went to a wooded area in Pinellas County on Dec. 13, 1984 to shoot a stolen handgun.

26-year-old Florida Wildlife Officer Margaret Park interrupted them and Grossman pleaded with her not to report him for having the gun and being outside Pasco County, both of which were violations of his probation for burglary.

Grossman struck Park on the back of the head when she tried to radio for help and his accomplice beat her.

Grossman, who was a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than Park, wrestled her gun away from her and shot her in the back of the head.

Last week, Grossman and his attorney, Richard Kiley, appeared before Judge Joseph Bulone asking to introduce evidence on Grossman’s mental state at the time of the killing.

Kiley said Grossman was sentenced by a jury who knew nothing about his mental state.

Bulone denied the petition.

YWN spoke with Rabbi Menachem Katz of the Aleph Institute, who has been visiting Grossman for the past 15 years in prison, most recently as this past Thursday.

Rabbi Katz said his most recent visit was an emotional, and traumatic experience for Grossman – who knows that he has a scheduled date to be executed. The visit lasted two hours, and was held at a special cell called “Death Watch”. Although Grossman understands that he took a life by murdering Margaret Park, he feels that he was not treated fairly. At the time of the murder he and his friend were high on mind-altering drugs (PCP, crystal meth, cocaine & other drugs), and was only 19-years-old. No one gets a death warrant signed for them under such circumstances.

Another point worth questioning is why Florida Governor Charlie Crist suddenly decided to sign the death warrant. There are hundreds of hardened criminals on death row, and the Governor never signed Grossman’s warrant for the past 4 years. Why suddenly did he decide to do this?

Grossman is currently the only Florida inmate with a signed death warrant, and placed onto death watch.

Rabbi Katz tells YWN that Grossman is “holding strong”, and tries to practice Judaism as much as he can, and put on Tefillin at his last visit. He has requested a Jewish burial, but Rabbi Katz of the Aleph Institute are hopeful that he won’t need a burial, and the Governor will have a change of heart – allowing Grossman to live out his sentence behind bars.

“This is Pikuach Nefashos Mammish,” Rabbi Katz told YWN. People are urged to contact the governors office and plead to have himchange his mind.


Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Citizen Services Hotline: (850) 488-4441
Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146 [Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time]
Fax: (850) 487-0801

For individuals with hearing loss or speech disability:
1-850-922-7795 (TTY)

(Dov Gordon – YWN)


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