JERUSALEM (Mar. 29)
The Jerusalem District Court heard testimony Wednesday on whether the Israeli government can extradite a West Bank couple to stand trial in the United States for a fatal bombing in California.
The pair, Robert and Rochelle Manning, are wanted in the United States in connection with a July 1980 bombing that killed Patricia Wilkerson, a secretary at a Los Angeles computer firm.
The Mannings, who immigrated here from the United States and now live in Kiryat Arba, are former members of the militant Jewish Defense League and followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. They were arrested by authorities in March.
The court adjourned the hearing without issuing a ruling. A decision could come next week.
The couple’s 18-year-old daughter and friends from the settlement community were in court to support them.
Israeli state attorneys have based their extradition suit on U.S. police evidence showing that the Mannings’ fingerprints were found on remnants of the parcel bomb.
The judge was told that the killing had been done at the behest of a friend of the Mannings named Ross, and took place within the context of a commercial dispute involving the company, the Mannings and Ross.
The state did not allude to reports that Ross and the Mannings were all members of the JDL. The fact seemed not germane to the case.
In March, an assistant postal inspector in Los Angeles said the extradition request for the Mannings had been made in July 1980 “for the homicide of Wilkerson.”
In 1988, the Mannings were indicted by a U.S grand jury in connection with the 1985 bombing death of Alex Odeh, the Southern California director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
However, the extradition request does not mention the Odeh killing and the extradition order does not apply to it.
The Mannings’ alleged offenses occurred before they became citizens of Israel.