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Murder Victim's Family Blames Philadelphia DA For Mishandling Of Case

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A Philadelphia family is outraged that District Attorney Larry Krasner is doing away with the death penalty. It's been a painful 35 years for Samantha Jay and her family. Her uncle, 22-year-old David Bernstein was brutally murdered in July 1982.

"They beat him with baseball bats," she told Eyewitness News.

Authorities say Joseph Kindler, Bernstein's friend, killed him. Bernstein was set to testify against Kindler about burglaries the two committed in the Philadelphia area. Detectives say Bernstein was beaten and thrown in the Delaware River with a cinder block tied to him.

Kindler escaped from prison twice, once in Pennsylvania and a second time in Canada. He was finally caught and brought back to Philadelphia and was put on death row, but that's all changing now. Krasner wants to do away with the death penalty. There was even a hearing last month to take Kindler off death row.  Jay and her family say they never got a heads up about the change.

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"Krasner is putting my entire family in jeopardy. The guy has escaped from prison numerous times," Jay said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Krasner for an interview. We were given this statement:

"We certainly are sympathetic to the Bernstein family and the unspeakable tragedy that they have been dealing with since David's murder. Our chief of homicide has also publicly acknowledged that there was a mistake made due to an internal miscommunication in regards to contacting the immediate family about the re-sentencing. 

To be clear, the end result of this case is that the killer, Joseph Kindler, has agreed to drop all of his appeals and will spend the remainder of his life behind bars. The approach taken by the District Attorney's Office in this case means that there is no chance that he will be released, paroled, or seek a successful appeal. He will die in prison."

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Jay says the statement is not good enough for her family. She says the man who has escaped twice certainly could do it again and she wants protection from law enforcement for members of her family.

"I know he's going to escape. There's not a doubt in my mind. He's a manipulator. He always has been," Jay said.


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