© 2022 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kopp Sentenced to Life without Parole on Federal Charges in Slepian Killing

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-599826.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Anti-abortion extremist James Kopp has been sentenced to life in prison plus an additional ten years on federal charges.

It has been almost nine years since Dr. Barnett Slepian was murdered by Kopp's sniper bullet. Kopp is already serving 25-years to life on state murder charges.

Federal Judge Richard Arcara Tuesday sentenced Kopp to life without parole for violating the access to abortion clinics law and to ten years on a firearms charge.

The judge denied the prosecution's request to sentenced Kopp to two consecutive life sentences. Arcara said he felt it was not necessary and that Kopp will never be freed.

US Attorney Terrance Flynn says the government is pleased.

"It's been a long, long case through the investigative (process) and then the legal (process)," Flynn said. "It's a good feeling to be here at this point with this decision."

Lynne Slepian and her four sons were in the court Tuesday during the more than two hour sentencing. Mrs. Slepian read a statement calling Kopp "a convicted monster." But she noted that even with Kopp in jail the rest of his life, there are "countless" others just like him.

Kopp addressed the court for an hour, once again claiming he only intended to wound Slepian, not kill him.

Full Text of Lynne Slepian's Statement: When first approached about writing a victim impact statement, my thoughts were to say nothing and let the court impose whatever sentence it deemed fit. But, after much thought, I decided that I'd like to say something on behalf of myself and my four sons. I will get right to the point of the statement without trying to repeat the obvious in this case. Mr. Kopp is an already convicted monster. He is going to spend time in jail no matter what I might have to say to the court. He not only took away my husband and life partner, but also took away a kind and nurturing father to our four young children. I want Mr. Kopp to go to jail knowing that he killed a wonderful man a kind and compassionate brother, father, husband and friend. This was the man that I was supposed to grow old with who worked hard so that his family could have all that he himself did not have as a child growing up. James Charles Kopp changed our lives forever. If it wasn't for my family, friends and the entire community, I'm sure I wouldn't be here today with the ability to stay strong and focused. I would also like to point out the fact that although Mr. Kopp will be spending what I hope is the rest of his life behind bars, that there are countless more people just like him with the same warped belief system that have his same perceptions and viewpoints and that are still walking around like you and I. We should all be very, very afraid that this sick mentality that of James Kopp and his followers, still exists and is tolerated by so many. There are too many persons who believe that what James Kopp did was not a crime, but a calling.

I would be remiss if I did not thank all of those responsible for bringing James Charles Kopp to justice. I am forever grateful to all of the following for their important roles in both the capture, and conviction of this heinous man who stands before you today for his sentencing. My heartfelt thanks goes to: The Amherst Police Department who were not only instrumental in solving this case, but who also became like a family to myself and my boys. A huge thank you also to the FBI, ATF, U.S. attorney's office, district attorney's office, U.S. Marshals Service, Department of Justice, New York State Police, federal and local victim witness personnel, the witness in both the state and federal trials, courthouse security, Scotland Yard, Irish National Police, Interpol, French National Police, Dinan [France] police and all the judges and their court staff who have been involved. A special thank you to Joan Dorn. Without her courageous testimony and effort, this case may never have been solved. The prosecutors in both state and federal trials deserve a special thank you also. Joseph Marusak, Kathleen Mehltretter and Martin Littlefield went above and beyond their job descriptions to bring this case to a just conclusion. I also am eternally thankful to anyone who has taken time out of their busy schedules to transport me and my family back and forth to all of the court proceedings with a special thank you to Mr. John Culhane. John frequently rearranged his own personal schedule to accommodate all the hearings for this case. A special thank you also to Sharon Simon. If I have neglected to acknowledge anyone, I apologize. If it wasn't for all of the above, along with the kindness and support of all of our friends and family, I am not sure how we would have made it through this surreal ordeal.

Finally, Your Honor, I ask you to please impose the maximum sentence allowed by law upon Mr. Kopp. I ask you to impose life without any chance of parole. Please put Mr. Kopp in jail for life so that my children never have to worry about attending a parole hearing. Allow myself and my children to put our lives back together without ever having to give this man another thought. Imposing a sentence of life without parole will allow our family the peace of mind that Mr. Kopp will never be allowed out of jail to put another family through what we have endured. No family deserves to be put through what he has put us through. On behalf of myself and my family, I would like to thank the court for allowing me to express my thoughts.

Respectfully submitted, Lynne Slepian