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According to Friedman’s 1990 report, the pipe bomb that killed Odeh was sophisticated enough to impress FBI investigators. Since 1990, one of the men named by Friedman as a suspect in the Odeh murder has been extradited from Israel and found guilty in another bombing. Robert Manning was convicted in 1993 of killing a secretary at a computer company in a 1980 mail bombing and is currently serving a life sentence in a federal prison.
Manning had been living in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. According to testimony at his trial, Manning was hired to send the mail bomb in 1980 by a fellow JDL member who was having a business dispute with the computer company.
The other two men Friedman named as suspects in the Odeh murder, Keith Fuchs and Andy Green, are apparently still in Israel. Neither has been charged. The JDL, for its part, is effectively defunct. Rubin killed himself in prison in 2002 while awaiting trial on charges that he had planned to firebomb a mosque and the offices of Congressman Darrell Issa. His son Ari and wife Shelley said they would rebuild the organization, but Ari committed suicide in 2012. The JDL’s website is currently suspended by its host.
Earl Krugel, who was Rubin’s alleged co-conspirator in the 2001 firebombing plots, reportedly cooperated with FBI investigators looking into the Odeh case as part of his 2005 plea agreement. Krugel was killed in prison three days after his sentencing.
Efforts to draw renewed attention to the Odeh case have been made before. In 1996, 11 years after the murder, the Justice Department announced a $1 million reward for information that would help solve the case. That reward is still unclaimed.
On the October 11 conference call, Conyers said that he would request to meet with the Department of Justice on the matter.
Seeking to explain the Odeh case’s importance, Jealous, the NAACP president, invoked the case of Medgar Evers, the black civil rights workers whose 1963 murder by white supremacists was not officially solved until 1994.
“Whenever someone who works for justice is killed it is the responsibility of our country as a whole and the civil rights community as a whole to ensure that the killers be brought to justice,” said Jealous on the call. ADC president Warren David said he had been inspired to look into the case after a visit with Odeh’s widow and brother. “They were very frustrated,” David said.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a large coalition that includes mainstream Jewish advocacy groups, is supportive of the campaign, according to a spokesman for the Conference.
Odeh’s brother Sami Odeh died in June, according to Raed Jarrar, a spokesman for the ADC. “I think many of our constituents…felt even more obligated to call for closure on this case because Sami Odeh passed away after 27 years without having closure, and without knowing who killed his brother,” Jarrar said.