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Probe Sought in Prison Death of Ex-JDL Activist

November 08, 2005|From Times Staff Writers

Relatives of former Jewish Defense League activist Earl Krugel are calling for an investigation into his death at a federal prison in Phoenix.

FBI agents on Monday interviewed inmates and prison guards at the medium-security prison, where Krugel, 62, was imprisoned for plotting to bomb a Culver City mosque and the field office of Arab American Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-Vista). But an FBI spokeswoman declined to provide additional details on Krugel's death, which occurred about 5:30 p.m. Friday, officials have said.

Krugel's sister, Linda, said she was told that her brother was struck on the head with a chunk of concrete while he was exercising on the prison grounds. She said the family wanted to know how the attack could have occurred inside a federal facility.

"Where was the security?" Linda Krugel asked Monday.

She called her brother's death "a hate crime," adding, "They did it because he is a Jewish hero."

State and federal law enforcement officials speaking on the condition of anonymity have said Krugel was attacked by a white supremacist. His killing came three days after he arrived at the prison to serve a 20-year sentence for plotting to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and Issa's San Diego field office.

Krugel was arrested in December 2001 along with JDL leader Irv Rubin, 57, who subsequently jumped to his death at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles.

At his sentencing in Los Angeles in September, Krugel, a dental technician, apologized for his actions and told the judge his only wish was to serve out his term and return to his family so he would not die in prison.

Krugel already had spent four years in custody. With time off for good behavior, he could have been eligible for release in 2019.

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