CHERRY HILL, N.J. (Nov. 13)
The case of a rabbi accused of arranging his wife’s murder has ended in a mistrial.
Judge Linda Baxter declared a mistrial Tuesday after the jury said it had been unable to decide on all three counts against Rabbi Fred Neulander.
Jurors deliberated for more than 40 hours over seven days before sending the judge a note saying they could not reach a decision.
There is the possibility that Neulander will be tried again. Neulander’s wife, Carol, was found beaten to death at the couple’s home in 1994.
Authorities say the rabbi wanted his wife killed so he could continue an affair.
Neulander resigned his pulpit in February 1995 amid reports that he had been unfaithful.
Neulander, who had been the religious leader of one of the largest Reform congregations in southern New Jersey, could have received the death penalty if found guilty.
Camden County Prosecutor Lee Solomon said his office will retry Neulander.
Solomon also said the charge of capital murder, which carries a possible death sentence, will remain.
In a news conference soon after the mistrial was declared, Neulander’s attorney, Jeffrey Zucker, said Neulander “certainly is relieved, but he’s disappointed he wasn’t completely cleared.”
Zucker said he will ask for bail.
Solomon said his office will oppose any request for bail. Neulander has been in jail since June 2000.
In declaring the mistrial, Baxter called the jury members — six men and six women — very conscientious and praised them for not giving up easily.
“You took the responsibility very seriously,” she said.
Local resident Ron Boben, of Cinnaminson, N.J., called the lack of a verdict “a shame.”
“It’s kind of like playing a sport and getting to the Super Bowl, and then saying it’s a tie and having to play all over.”
Attorney Glenn Zeitz called the hung jury “predictable,” noting that the testimony of the two hit men, Leonard Jenoff and Paul Michael Daniels, lacked credibility and Neulander, himself, was “seriously impeached” during cross examination.
Jenoff had testified that he killed Carol Neulander after her husband had promised him $30,000 and a chance to work for Mossad, Israel’s spy agency.
While on the stand, Jenoff later admitted in court that he often lies to make himself look better and that he has a drinking problem. Daniels testified that he as suffered from he had drug problems.
“There was probably a small number of jurors, a well-entrenched group” that took one side right from the start, Zeitz said.