Fetterman has voted to free the murderer who hacked an innocent man to death with garden shears


Charles “Zeke” Goldblum was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man with garden shears in a downtown Pittsburgh parking lot and later attempted to hire a hitman to kill his accomplice in the murder brutal. As Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor, Senate hopeful John Fetterman voted to free Goldblum in 2019 and said he was “pleased” when the killer was released from prison last year.

Goldblum was convicted of first degree murder in the 1976 murder of George Wilhelm as part of an insurance fraud cover-up. Prosecutors say Goldblum and an accomplice, Clarence Miller, lured Wilhelm to a parking lot in Pittsburgh, where Goldblum stabbed the man 26 times. While out on bail, Goldblum attempted to hire an undercover police officer to assassinate Miller, who had reported Goldblum for the crime.

Goldblum, who maintained his innocence, was set to die in prison, having unsuccessfully sought clemency seven times. But in 2019, Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons, chaired by Fetterman, voted unanimously to release Goldblum from prison, overriding the wishes of Wilhelm’s family. To justify its decision, the council points to the judge and the prosecutor in charge of the Wilhelm case, who have since concluded that he was the accomplice rather than the main aggressor.

But in 2007, a federal appeals court denied Goldblum’s request for an evidentiary hearing, writing, “there is simply too much evidence here establishing Goldblum’s guilt.” The judge and prosecutor were vague about the information that prompted their quashing, and no one claimed Goldblum was innocent of the hitman charge.

Still, Fetterman cheered when Goldblum was released from prison last year, saying he was “happy to be home to his family” and that Goldblum was “no threat to public safety”. The commutation was part of Fetterman’s pledge to “transform” Pennsylvania’s clemency process and free more prisoners, a record the Democrat touted on the campaign trail. Fetterman specifically points to his efforts to end life sentences for those implicated in murders but did not directly “pull the trigger.”

Beyond Goldblum, however, Fetterman voted to free the “triggers” convicted of first-degree murder. Last year he was the only board member to vote for the release of Wayne Covington, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for killing a man for money to buy heroin. This test has already made its way into GOP announcements who argue that Fetterman is “too leftist” and “dangerously liberal on crime,” suggesting that Fetterman’s record as chairman of the board may not be the winning question he thinks is .

After his release from prison in 2021, Goldblum admitted to hiring Miller to burn down a restaurant he owned to collect insurance money. The couple then arranged a meeting with Wilhelm, who “knew about Goldblum’s involvement in the land fraud scheme and arson” and wanted payment, according to federal court documents reviewed by the court. Free Washington Beacon. Wilhelm did not leave the meeting alive – he was stabbed 26 times while in a car with Goldblum and Miller, who “agreed to lie to the police in order to provide everyone with an alibi” and ” left the scene together,” according to court documents. .

While on bail and awaiting trial, Goldblum concocted a “murder-for-hire plot” to kill Miller, who was to testify against Goldblum, the Pittsburgh Press reported in 1976. Goldblum, according to the Hurry, offered an undercover detective $2,000 to punch his co-conspirator, but balked at the would-be killer’s demand for upfront payment, saying, “I’ve already been burned about this. I don’t face no one.” Goldblum has since admitted that he “punched Miller”, who court documents describe as “the leading Commonwealth witness”.

Goldblum claimed he was only a witness to Miller stabbing Wilhelm, who shortly before his death told a police officer “Clarence Miller did this to me”. But prosecutors argued that Goldblum’s attempt to hire a hitman to kill Miller indicated he was guilty of Wilhelm’s murder, and Wilhelm’s family members strongly opposed his release, insisting on the fact that he was guilty of murdering their relative.

“His claims of innocence have no basis,” said Wilhelm’s niece, Sandra Horton, Told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star of Goldblum in 2019. “We thought [his life sentence] would be just that – a life sentence without the possibility of parole, and that he would be forced to accept his part in George’s brutal death. Horton blamed Fetterman and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D.) for freeing the killer after his plea for clemency had been denied seven times previously. “It’s Wolf and Fetterman,” she said. said, “That’s how we got here. … The eighth time is the charm.”

Fetterman campaign spokesman Joe Calvello defended the Democrats’ vote to free Goldblum, saying, “John is proud of his work on the Board of Pardons, giving nonviolent and convicted offenders a second chance. wrong”.

“Goldblum was wrongfully convicted and that is why John, along with all the other members of the Pardon Board, voted to recommend clemency,” Calvello told the Free tag. “The judge and prosecutor who presided over his trial also came to this conclusion and pleaded for his release.”

Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons is no stranger to controversy. In 1992, council members voted to commute serial killer Reginald McFadden’s sentence. A few months after his release, McFadden killed two people and kidnapped and raped a third woman. The scandal prompted Pennsylvania voters to raise the standard for board approval from a majority vote to a unanimous vote, a move that sent commutations of life sentences plummeting.

Fetterman lobbied to lower the board’s voting threshold to 4-1. In January, he appointed his campaign political manager, Celeste Trusty, as secretary of the Board of Pardons. Trusty supports many of the same criminal justice reform policies as Fetterman and has called for “disarming the police”. She is a supporter and self-proclaimed “friend” of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther who murdered Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, the Free tag reported.


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