A Jewish Defense League activist imprisoned for his role in a plot to bomb a California mosque and the office of a Lebanese-American US congressman was killed at a federal prison in Phoenix, an FBI spokesman said Saturday.
Earl Krugel, 62, was killed in an assault Friday evening at the Federal Correctional Institution, said FBI agent Richard Murray.
Murray wouldn't release further details but said federal authorities had opened a homicide investigation.
Krugel's wife, Lola, said FBI investigators told her an inmate had struck her husband on the head from behind with a cement block.
"Earl never saw it happening," she said. "He was exercising."
He had been at the medium-security prison for three days, according to his sister Linda Krugel, also of Los Angeles.
Earl Krugel, a former dental assistant from Los Angeles, and late JDL leader Irv Rubin were arrested in 2001 and charged with conspiring to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and a field office of Republican Rep. Darrell E. Issa, who is Lebanese-American.
Krugel pleaded guilty in 2003 to one count of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of worshippers at the mosque and one count of carrying an explosive device in connection with a conspiracy to impede or injure an office of the United States.
Despite the plea, he was sentenced in September to 20 years in prison. The reasons for the collapse of an initial plea agreement were sealed, despite a lawsuit by news organizations to make the details public.
During the case, Krugel's lawyers said prosecutors were angered that his client withheld for several months the names of four people allegedly connected to the 1985 murder case of Alex Odeh, a regional director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Several former JDL members were suspected in the case, but no one was ever charged.
"Earl did not deserve what he got," Krugel's wife said Saturday. "It was all political. It was all about Alex Odeh and my husband did not know anything about Alex Odeh. I'm devastated and I'm shocked that the system allowed this to happen."
She said she last spoke with her husband Thursday and he was still adjusting to prison life.
"He was supposed to call me on Friday morning," she said. "When I didn't hear from him, I felt something was not right."
The Jewish Defense League was founded in 1968 by Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane advocated the forcible removal of Arabs from Israel. He was assassinated in 1990 in New York.
JDL spokesman Brett Stone said he was stunned by Krugel's death. He noted it came exactly three years after authorities say Rubin slashed his neck with a prison-issued razor blade and jumped 5.4 meters over a railing at a federal detention center in Los Angeles. Rubin died nine days later.
"I'm really sad," said Stone, who believes Rubin's death was not a suicide. "It's shocking that's the second member of the Jewish Defense League in three years who has died in federal prison."
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John Albright, New York, USA:
For the record I'm not a radical liberal, I'm just not a racist hypocrite. I believe terrorists deserve to be tried, only to make sure they are terrorists, and then executed.(Note due process)
The people posting to this article participate in far-right speech. I don't agree with it, but accept your rights to practice it. What I don't accept is planning the bombing of a place of worship or the assassination of a US congressman. Picket, protest, pledge money to their opponents, maybe even hire investigator to get their dirt, but cross the line to assassinations and you are no better than the Arabs who killed Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi
To clarify my earlier remarks, Terrorism is a means and a means we must condemn. When a Muslim commits an act of terror I am angry, when a Jew commits an act of terror, I am both angry and embarrassed. I believe Krugel deserved to be executed, as does his killer, but the difference between myself and Krugel is that I vote for tougher penalties on violent criminals, he became a violent criminal. I have no issue with Krugel's goal of ridding the world of anti-Semites, but the only thing the JDL has accomplished is proving Jews can be terrorists too, and taking away our moral high ground.
Markus Djemal, Frankfurt, Germany:
I agree with the reader who criticized the liberals. It is shocking that many Jews can support anti-Semites' (such as Nazis or Islamists) rights to freedom of speech, but fail to speak out for the rights of extremist Jews.
Too many leftist Jews are too concerned with the opinions of gentiles. Thus they rather support one group in order to prove their open-mindedness, while simultaneously backstabbing Jews whose opinions they do not like.
Supporting Palestinians, calling for the execution of fellow Jews - those are the crimes that you should be executed for. No society tolerates traitors; why should Jews?
The JDL is a good way to fight back against the likes of Farakhan and others like him. Yet nobody speak out against them. You don't find too many Arabs for Israel, yet Jews for Palestine outnumber righteous Jews. The greatest enemy of a Jew is a Jew.
Rabbi Yakov Lazaros, USA:
First Irv Rubin dies in federal prison under mysterious circumstances, and now Earl Krugel. This time
there was no mystery. The authorities admit it was murder.
The real question here is: are Jews being targeted in federal prisons and by whom?
The Jewish leadership in the USA must demand an investigation into the Federal Bureau of Prisons as to why Jews are not being protected. Serving time in prison should not be a death sentence.
Joseph Alexander Norland, Ottawa, ON, Canada:
This is a comment on John Albright's assertion that "A Jewish terrorist is still a terrorist and is frankly the worst kind - from my Jewish perspective." Why is "a Jewish terrorist" the "worst kind?" Did any "Jewish terrorist" murder 3,000 Americans in the Twin Towers
? Or is it simply because the bleeding hearts of New York's Upper West Side
decided so? Mr. Albright's assertion justifies the contempt average North Americans
have for the weak-kneed appeasers, who are all too willing to blame their own flesh and blood, while seeing nothing wrong with the enemy. This is the very reason why Paris is burning as I write this commentary.
Dan, NYC, USA:
I am upset and hope those involved in the murder are brought to justice. I am, however, equally as upset from a comment from New York "I agree he shouldn't have been murdered, he should have been executed." It is that very reason why this great country has courts and due process. It is sad to see Americans and those living in a city which prides itself on its liberal beliefs to want to throw due process and justice to the wind for the sake of their personal agendas. Murder is wrong. Planning a murder is wrong, and requesting that due process and the court system to be invalidated is just as wrong. Shame.
Ira Berkowitz, USA:
A reader from New York City declared on this board that Mr. Kruger should have been executed rather than sent to prison.
It is unfortunate that the reader and others like him do not publicly advocate for swift and sure execution of those who attempt to murder Jews.
Secular humanism has infected the minds of many, especially of Jews who presume to engage in dialogue with diabolical psychopaths who desire only to destroy and kill.
Earl Krugel and Irv Rubin, I believe, reacted to people who demonically sought destruction of Israel and wholesale slaughter of Jews.
Earl Krugel and Irv Rubin may have committed crimes, according to American codified law. They were tried and sentenced.
Were they given "prisoners' rights" advocacy that liberals demand for sexual predators, bank robbers, common miscreant murderers? The answer is clearly no.
I agree with those who say that contemporary liberals have a defective moral compass. Rubin and Krugel murdered no one. Rubin and Krugel robbed no one. They were sent to prison hellholes, alone, to be murdered.
How pathetic that there is only silence!
Owen Cramer, Canada:
Isn't it kind of strange they both ended up dead in prison? My opinion is they were both murdered by Islamists and the US authorities certainly put them in harm's way. Just goes to show what a Jew's blood is worth on this planet.
John Albright, New York, USA:
A Jewish terrorist is still a terrorist and is frankly the worst kind - from my Jewish perspective. I agree he shouldn't have been murdered, he should have been executed. He is a chillul Hashem
, as is the organization he was part of. It saddens me greatly to hear people defend him and make us sound no better than the Klan.
This murder and this collapse of a plea agreement based on info he didn't have about Alex Odeh in 1985 is absolutely ridiculous.
Anti-Semitism is what caused Rubin to kill himself and anti-Semitism is what caused the death of Earl Krugel, God rest his soul, 3 days after going to the jail!
Three days! That's incredibly disgusting and alarming. Were these some Muslims who wanted to blow up Jewish babies and women and elders at prayer in shul they wouldn't have been "mysteriously" killed.
This is a sham and the prison authorities need to have their butts sued by Krugel's wife. Negligence is what caused this. They turned a blind eye to the many Jew-hating prisoners- the African American militant Muslims a la Farakhan/Black Panthers and the Neo Nazi white Supremacist Skinheads. They knew he was a sitting duck. They could have prevented their turning a blind eye from looking so obvious though.
Three days is revolting. I say sue them fro all they are "worth."
Michelle, Nevada, USA:
No coincidence that it was on Rabin's
memorial day, right? You can bet it won't be investigated any more than Rubin's death was investigated. US prison time in any amount is a death sentence for Jews. Get Pollard out now while he is still alive!