Emotions mixed on plea deal of rabbis who admitted to fatal 2021 Evergreen Court fire
Emotional reaction to a plea deal in Rockland County was mixed and extended far beyond the courtroom on Wednesday.
Rockland District Attorney Thomas Walsh agreed to a plea deal avoiding any prison time for Nathaniel and Aaron Sommer, who admitted to sparking a fatal 2021 Evergreen Court fire during a Passover koshering ritual.
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The victims' families and activists say it robbed them of justice, but other leaders feel the sentence was appropriate.
Firefighter George Cich, whose son was injured in the deadly blaze, says he and others worry that the plea deal could have a crippling impact on the morale of Rockland County's bravest, while allowing dangerous safety code violations to go unchecked down the road.
"I think the sentencing was appropriate given the history of sentencing in New York," says Rockland County Legislator Itamar Yeger.
Yeger, a former prosecutor and firefighter, is one of 27 elected officials who signed a letter sent to Judge Russo, urging him against prison time - and warning "this tragedy should not become a vehicle for inciting antisemitic sentiment."
"I believe this case would have never even moved forward had it not been for the religious aspect," says Veger.
Calvin Lloyd, Jared Lloyd's father spoke to News 12.
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Sources: Plea deal offered to rabbi, son team charged with sparking fatal Evergreen fire in Rockland
Statement from Sabrail Davenport, Jared Lloyd's mother.
Statement from Calvin Lloyd, Jared Lloyd's father.
Statement from Judge Kevin Russo.
Statement from the Spring Valley Fire Chaplain John Kapral.
Statements outside courtroom