Saturday, August 19, 2006

Widow files $20 million suit over JDL activist's death in prison

Widow files $20 million suit over JDL activist's death in prison

LOS ANGELES - The widow of a Jewish Defense League activist killed in a federal prison filed a $20 million lawsuit Tuesday, claiming the government failed to protect him.

Earl Krugel, 62, was killed in November at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix, where he was imprisoned for his role in a bomb plot against a Southern California mosque and the office of a Lebanese-American congressman.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Lola Krugel contends authorities knew or should have known that her husband's "high-profile religious and political beliefs and affiliation with the JDL made him an imminent target for violent acts by other inmates."

Last month, David Frank Jennings, a 30-year-old inmate at the Phoenix prison, was indicted on first-degree murder in the slaying.

A message left Tuesday night with the prison was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit maintains Krugel was improperly placed in the prison's exercise yard, where workers failed to remove debris that could be used as weapons.

Family members have said Krugel died after an inmate struck him in the head with a concrete block.

A former dental assistant from Los Angeles, Krugel was arrested in 2001 and charged with conspiring to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and a field office of Republican Rep. Darrell E. Issa.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2003 and was later sentenced to 20 years in prison.