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Grand Jury Empaneled in Crown Heights Case

January 8, 1994

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A state grand jury was empaneled Friday in the New York City borough of Brooklyn to consider charges against a new suspect in the Crown Heights murder and riot case, said a state law enforcement source close to the probe.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the panel would consider murder and possible other charges against the suspect, Ernesto Edwards.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department said Attorney General Janet Reno would meet with the Brooklyn district attorney to discuss the case.

Another suspect, Lemrick Nelson, was arrested shortly after the stabbing of rabbinical scholar Yankel Rosenbaum during the August 1991 riots and charged with the killing. However, a state Supreme Court jury in Brooklyn acquitted him of murder and other charges.

In the months since Nelson’s acquittal, members of Brooklyn’s large and influential conservative Jewish community have demanded a full federal civil- rights investigation into the slaying of Rosenbaum and the riots.

Julie Anbender, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the government was still looking into the case, but refused to say if a federal grand jury had been called to consider possible civil-rights charges against Nelson, Edwards or any others.

Edwards, 24, is jailed on an unrelated case, but investigators have interviewed a trio of witnesses who allegedly connect him with Rosenbaum’s murder.

Rosenbaum, a Jewish scholar from Australia, was killed in the early hours of what became several days of mayhem that exploded after a car in the motorcade of a Jewish religious leader struck and killed a young black boy playing on a sidewalk.

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