An Orthodox Jewish organization that had been among several urging Florida Governor Charlie Crist to spare the life of Martin Grossman, and pursuing possible legal avenues to stay implementation of the death penalty, expressed “deep anguish” over his execution last night. Mr. Grossman was convicted of killing Ms. Margaret Parks, a Florida Wildlife Officer, in 1984, when he was 19 years old. In advocating for his life to be spared, the Jewish groups acknowledged the horror of his crime and expressed their deepest sympathy for the family of his victim. At the same time, they called attention to the fact that the murder was an act of panic, not premeditation; that Mr. Grossman’s low IQ and impaired mental state were not given proper recognition in his death sentence; and that Mr. Grossman has not only conducted himself as a model prisoner since his incarceration some 25 years ago but showed profound remorse and regret for his actions.
“The tragic news out of Florida,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel of America’s executive vice president, “leaves us feeling deep anguish and sorrow.
“Mr. Grossman’s execution has hit our community very hard. He was a fellow Jew and so we saw him as a brother. Countless members of our community had telephoned, e-mailed and faxed the Governor’s office pleading that Mr. Grossman’s sentence be commuted to life in prison. Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed.
“There are many lessons one might draw from this terrible tragedy, but in the end we acknowledge ‘Boruch Dayan Ha’emes’ – ‘Blessed be the true Judge’.”