- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - The second of two men convicted of killing a veteran New York Times journalist was sentenced to 65 years in prison Friday after a year of criminal proceedings in David E. Rosenbaum’s death.

Percey Jordan Jr., 43, was convicted in October in the beating death of Rosenbaum in January 2006.

“I think justice was served,” Rosenbaum’s brother Marcus said to reporters after the sentencing. “I can’t say there’s any closure. How could we ever see any closure about the death of our brother?”

Jordan’s cousin and co-defendant, Michael C. Hamlin, 24, was sentenced to 26 years in prison earlier this month in the attack. He had testified against Jordan as part of an agreement with prosecutors and said Jordan delivered the blow to Rosenbaum’s head.

Rosenbaum, 63, had retired from his job in the Times’ Washington bureau just six days before he died. The attackers crushed part of Rosenbaum’s skull with a heavy pipe and stole his wallet. He died two days later at Howard University Hospital.

“I loved my dad,” Rosenbaum’s son Daniel said in court Friday, turning to look at Jordan a few times as he spoke. “He was the greatest dad anyone could ever have. I can’t imagine a sentence that would fill this crime.”

The attack took pace near Rosenbaum’s home in a usually quiet Northwest Washington neighborhood as he was taking an after-dinner stroll. A neighbor found the dazed Rosenbaum and called 911 while waiting with him.

The emotional hearing drew tears from many members of Rosenbaum’s family in the courtroom, but no apology or any statements from Jordan when he was given an opportunity to speak. Jordan avoided looking at the family, tightly pursed his lips for most of the hearing and at times shifted from side to side when Rosenbaum’s family members spoke.

Rosenbaum’s brother Marcus spoke about the tight-knit family’s “devastation,” and his wife Lyn Ingerson remembered Rosenbaum’s gentle character. She said Rosenbaum would not want the death penalty, “even for the man who took his life.” Capital punishment is not allowed under District of Columbia law.

Tobias Halliday, Rosenbaum’s son-in-law, remembered how exactly one year ago this week, more than 700 people filled a memorial service to remember Rosenbaum. Halliday and his wife Dorothy are the parents of Rosenbaum’s twin granddaughters.

Judge Erik Christian handed down the sentence, despite defense attorney Michael Starr’s request for a total sentence not to exceed 30 years. Starr characterized the attack as an “incompetent” bungled robbery that resulted in an unintended death, but the judge didn’t buy it.

“Well then what was the intent if an individual gives up his wallet and continues to get pummeled, and pummeled and pummeled?” the judge asked.

The sentence breaks down to 55 years for the murder conviction, and 10 more years for robbery, conspiracy and credit card fraud. If Jordan becomes eligible for parole, it likely would not be until his 90s.

Starr said he intends to appeal the conviction and maintains Jordan did not kill Rosenbaum.

In court, prosecutor Amanda Haines introduced James Rose, 73, who was severely beaten and robbed two months before Rosenbaum. Calls made on his stolen cell phone were eventually traced to Jordan’s home. Rose’s daughter Sheree Stahl and the Rosenbaum family say police refused to investigate that beating and another one in Silver Spring, Md. in which Jordan was implicated before Rosenbaum’s death.

If they had locked up Jordan then, Marcus Rosenbaum said, his brother would not have been attacked.

Rosenbaum’s family has since filed a $20 million lawsuit against district and hospital officials, saying the negligence of emergency workers contributed to his death.

A report by city investigators found that workers did not follow proper procedures after they initially believed Rosenbaum was intoxicated because they smelled alcohol on his breath. The report found workers did not treat his case as an emergency.

It was four hours before a neurological team evaluated Rosenbaum and eight hours before he was taken to an operating room.

An emergency medical technician was fired after the city investigation and new mayor Adrian Fenty has since replaced the former chief of the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

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