‘Our arms are still empty,’ says mother after sentencing. Devorah Halberstam found little relief in this week’s sentencing of the man responsible for the murder of her son.
“My son is dead, and that is the bottom line for us,” said the mother of Aaron Halberstam, whose life was cut short at age 16 from bullets fired by Rashid Baz in March 1994.
Judge Harold Rothwax of the Manhattan Supreme Court sentenced Baz, 29, on Wednesday to a total of 141 years and 8 months on his murder conviction and 14 counts of attempted murder.
Baz was also fined $5,000 for each of the 17 felony counts on which he was convicted.
“The sentence is a statement for the world, to criminals and to the justice system” Devorah Halberstam said in an interview.
“But for me and my family, we’re just destroyed people. Our lives have been torn apart. Our arms are still empty,” she said.
Baz killed Halberstam and wounded other Lubavitch teenagers when he opened fire at their van on the Brooklyn Bridge. They were returning to Crown Heights after praying at the Manhattan hospital where the Lubavitcher rebbe, the late Menachem Schneerson, had undergone eye surgery. One of the boys in the van, Nachum Sosonkin, now 18, still has a 9 mm bullet in his head and is slowly recovering his physical and speech skills, which were severely damaged in the shooting.
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, spokesman for the worldwide Lubavitch movement, responded to the sentence, saying, “We hope the sentencing will deter further bloodshed and expressions of senseless hatred.”