SHOCKING: Maniac Who Beat Rabbi Moskowitz With Baseball Bat May Just Get 5 Years


ltuck.jpgA 39-year-old Lakewood thug on Monday pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in a random baseball-bat attack on Rabbi Mordechai Moskowitz, a third-grade Rebbe at Lakewood Cheder.

Lee Tucker Jr. of Ventura Drive admitted to Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson that he attacked Rabbi Moskowitz with an aluminum baseball bat on Oct. 9, 2007, in Lakewood as was first reported HERE by YWN.

Responding to questions posed by his attorney, Glenn Kassman, Tucker acknowledged that he struck Rabbi Moskowitz, a stranger, three to six times on the head with the bat. Questioned further by Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Michael Weatherstone, Tucker conceded the action was an attempt to cause serious bodily injury to the victim.

Rabbi Moskowitz was walking to Daven Maariv when he was attacked just after dark at Princeton Avenue and Carey Street in Lakewood. Authorities said Moskowitz, then 53 and a Lakewood resident, required hospitalization at a rehabilitation center for severe injuries to his face and head.

Tucker had been charged in an indictment with attempted murder and weapons offenses, but the prosecution, in a plea bargain, agreed to dismiss the weapons charges and to downgrade the attempted murder charge to second-degree aggravated assault, which is punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

The victim, who was not in court, approved of the plea bargain, he said.

Weatherstone said he will ask for a 10-year prison term for Tucker when he is sentenced on Jan. 29, although Kassman said he will argue for a shorter term. Tucker will have to serve 85 percent of any prison term he does receive before he can be considered for release on parole, under the state’s No Early Release Act for violent criminals.

If he had been convicted of attempted murder, Tucker would have faced up to 20 years in prison.

The attack received widespread attention, including a news conference to announce a $25,000 reward for information posted by the Anti-Defamation League and the Lakewood Vaad.

An intensive investigation by Lakewood Detective Steven Wexler and prosecutor’s Detective Carlos Trujillo-Tovar led to Tucker’s arrest 15 days after the assault and eight blocks away from where it took place.

Tucker was first questioned by police about the crime two days before his arrest, when he was discharged from Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Winslow.

Authorities said they never learned a motive for the attack, but had no information to believe it was motivated by religious bias.

Kassman and defense attorney Kevin Young earlier this year sought to have Tucker declared incompetent to stand trial based on a long history of hospitalizations for serious mental disorders that included schizophrenia. Hodgson, however, ruled that Tucker was competent to stand trial.

Kassman said that while Tucker’s mental illness did not amount to an insanity defense, he said it is a point he will ask the judge to take into consideration when the defendant is sentenced.

(Source: Asbury Park Press)


  1. If “The victim, who was not in court, approved of the plea bargain,” then why does YWN consider it more SHOCKING then R’ Mordy himself?

  2. If this guy would have borrowed from a bank, that trusts him, more money than allowed, then he would get 1900 years. Such is the justice of brother Eisav.

  3. Yikes! Is it possible for YWN to maybe shrink or fade the pictures of the reshoim that need to be posted with the articles? I think it will lend to easier reading of the material. (just my humble opinion)

  4. If Rabbi Moskowitz accepted the deal why all the outrage – my guess is that the perp’s going be incarcerated for 7+ years – par for the course in a crime where the only victim recovers and wants to avoid both the personal strain and risk posed by a trial.

    And as for HaLeiVi’s comment – assuming you are referring to Madoff, he did far more permanent and long-lasting harm, ruining the lives of thousands of innocents . . . let’s not play into anti-semetic stereotypes and act as if such economic crimes are nisht geferlich.

  5. Just remember that tax evasion on the other hand will net you at least twenty years in the slammer especially if your skin is white.This is the American Way.

  6. #6 Yonason – Nobody said Rabbi Moskowitz accepted the plea bargain.
    The prosecuting attorney (the asst. DA) accepted the plea bargain to be more sure of a (faster) conviction for at least some charge.
    Rabbi Moskowitz gets no say in this. The ADA is not HIS attorney.
    If the rabbi would sue him in civil court (for damages, lost wages, etc.) and have his own lawyer, THEN he would have a say on what the settlement would be.

  7. Arrested as he was leaving a psychiatic hospital??? The prosecutor did a good job, given the person appears to be insane. It isn’t easy to get a conviction of a certified meshuganah. While there might have been some logic in having him found to be criminally insane, which in theory leads to being locked up until “cured”, given the current financial mess they might have to release all the criminally insane as an economy move, so better to have him in prison for a few years. The plea bargain (approved by the victim) seems reasonable, since attempted murder requires criminal intent to murder, which an insane person is probably incapable of, whereas assault is easier to prove.

  8. AinOhdMilvado – Victim services regulations require input from Rabbi Moskowitz – and if I understand the casr correctly he did in fact sign off on the deal.

    Don’t forget that if this had gone to trial Rabbi Moskowitz’ testimony could be significant – as could be his memory, or faulty memory of the event. With respect to his memory, I would imagine that the case is not a slam dunk, in view of the nature of the Rabbi’s injuries – and perhaps we should give the prosecution, the victim, and his family the benefit of the doubt that the deal here is reasonable.

  9. to #10: Read the article. The 6th paragraph says “The victim, who was not in court, approved of the plea bargain, he said.”

    And to YonasanW, I think HaLeiVi was referring to Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin.

  10. This is absurd. Being forcefully hit in the head with an aluminum baseball bat just once, is horrible to imagine. What kind of justice system does not recognize that three to six blows with a baseball bat enters the threshhold of a murder? Insane or no insane, the charge should be attempted murder. If they want to downgrade the punishment because of insanity, that is one problem, but the charge should be what the crime was.

  11. Midwesterner, exactly. I did say borrow, not rob. Anyhow, I mentioned Eisav as for the weird sense of priority; nothing to do about the Soney Es Yaakov aspect.

  12. The guy should be locked up for at least 10 years. Someone that crazy needs a real long time to think about what he did. 5 years is too short.