Couple Charged With Aiding James Kopp Could Get Reduced Sentences

Dennis Malvasi and Loretta Marra, two anti abortion extremists charged with helping James Kopp while he was on the run from a murder charge for a Buffalo doctor, are scheduled to plead guilty to charges next week. Court sources told the Buffalo News that Malvasi and Marra will plead guilty to one count of harboring a fugitive and receive sentences ranging from 27 to 33 months – much reduced from the maximum sentence of 10 years they could have received if they had been found guilty on original charges against them. Their plea hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday in Buffalo and is subject to US Judge Richard Arcara’s approval.

“We’re alarmed that Marra and Malvasi might receive lesser sentences,” said Katherine Spillar, executive vice-president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “Malvasi, who is an outspoken proponent of using violence against abortion providers, has been convicted for bombing several clinics. If he and Marra were assisting Kopp’s return to the US with the possibility that he could resume his campaign of violence, how can they now be freed to terrorize clinics and doctors?”

Under the terms of the deal, the Brooklyn couple will not be required to testify against Kopp in upcoming trials for his alleged shooting of Dr. Barnett Slepian, an abortion provider, in his home in October 1998.

Marra and Malvasi helped Kopp with money, shelter, and support while he eluded law enforcement for over two years. Relying on an Internet email account and a variety of false identities, Malvasi, a convicted clinic bomber, and Marra, an often-arrested clinic blockader previously arrested with Kopp, allegedly were able to aid and abet Kopp while he was a fugitive. Law enforcement arrested Marra and Malvasi after capturing Kopp in Dinan, France last year.

Kopp, formerly on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, was extradited from France in June to stand trial for murder. In addition to the slaying of Dr. Slepian, Kopp has also been indicted for the 1995 shooting of Ontario abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short and is the primary suspect in three additional shootings of abortion providers in Canada and New York.


Buffalo News 8/16/02; Feminist Majority Foundation 8/16/02; Feminist Daily News 6/6/02, 4/4/02

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