Jewish groups plead for Crist to save life of convicted killer Martin Grossman
By Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel
8:05 p.m. EST, February 10, 2010
Orthodox Jewish groups are trying to persuade Gov. Charlie Crist to spare the life of Martin Grossman, a convicted killer scheduled for execution Tuesday.
More than 13,000 people have signed an online petition, and Amnesty International also has intervened.
Grossman's advocates argue that the jury never heard mental-health evidence that would support Grossman's case, he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the crime and that he was only 19 when he shot a wildlife officer to death in Pinellas County in December 1984. He was convicted the following year.
National Council of Young Israel, Agudath Israel of America, Orthodox Union, Chabad, Satmar, Rabbinical Alliance of America and the nonprofit Aleph Institute are among 200 organizations asking Crist to grant a 60-day stay of execution to allow a clemency application to be considered. Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty also is trying to get Crist to spare Grossman's life.
Grossman was convicted of shooting Margaret Park, 26, in the head after she found him and a friend at a nature reserve, where they went to fire a gun. Grossman asked Park not to report him because it would have been a violation of his probation on a burglary conviction. There was a struggle, Park drew her gun and Grossman shot her with it.
The Florida Supreme Court this week upheld the sentence.