Two Men Convicted In Crown Heights Riots Murder

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NEW YORK CITY: A mixed-race jury convicted two black men of violating the civil rights of Yankel Rosenbaum, a Jewish scholar who was stabbed to death during the 1991 Crown Heights race riots. Although a sentence has not yet been handed down, Lemnick Nelson, 20, and Charles Price, 43, face life in prison. After a mostly black jury acquitted Nelson and Price in an earlier state criminal trial, Attorney General Janet Reno reopened the case in 1994 under fierce pressure from Jewish organizations who argued the attack was religiously motivated. Rosenbaum, who wore the traditional garb of an Hasidic Jew, was randomly attacked on the street as black mobs ran amok a few hours after a fatal car accident involving a 7-year-old black boy and a Lubavitcher Hasidim motorcade. Although prosecution witnesses testified that Nelson had told friends he was responsible for the murder, defense lawyers countered that police had forced Nelson to confess to the crime under duress and had planted a bloody knife found in his pockets shortly following the murder. Price, who witnesses placed at the stabbing scene, was charged with having incited a black crowd "to get Jews." While Nelson reacted to the verdict with tears and Price with stony silence, Rosenbaum's brother Norman, an Australian native who had pushed for the case to be reopened, jubilantly proclaimed that the decision marks "a good day for justice" in America.