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Old 05-23-2012, 06:05 PM   #16
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I've said it in another thread, but I'll say it again here.

Michelle had the killer in her grasp and she let him get away, assuming the killer is the man that visited Mel in jail.

Michelle stated that she had a half hour between the time she got in her car and the time the man exited the prison. So why the heck did she NOT take down all the license plates of the motorbikes, along with a brief description of the bikes? On top of that, if she suspected this was the man, she should've placed a call to the detective in charge of the investigation to bring him down to the prison. If he didn't make it in time to question the man, he still would've gotten the license plate and been able to track him down.

I know she was probably feeling the stress of the moment, but she had a lot of time to think, and I'm really surprised that this plan just didn't occur to her.
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Old 03-13-2018, 01:44 PM   #17
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I saw this segment again on lifetime it is as clear cut a case as we have ever seen. Mel is clearly guilty just him saying that man is a homeowner because of me. I have to say though I to feel Michelle dropped the ball as it were but I too think to myself that what would I have done in that same situation? Would I have gotten the license plate on the bike? I could only hope so. I think her biggest mistake was to tell Mel what she thought happened and that is when all the trouble started for her. One cannot ignore that indeed I too agree that the police dropped the ball on this case for sure. There is no reason why they should not have been able to check out the visitor logs and start looking to some of those visitors. This is one of those cases where you shake your head and marvel at all of the mistakes that were made. I guess the only real solace in this case is that Mel got life in prison.
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Old 03-13-2018, 02:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by QuenSolen
I've said it in another thread, but I'll say it again here.

Michelle had the killer in her grasp and she let him get away, assuming the killer is the man that visited Mel in jail.

Michelle stated that she had a half hour between the time she got in her car and the time the man exited the prison. So why the heck did she NOT take down all the license plates of the motorbikes, along with a brief description of the bikes? On top of that, if she suspected this was the man, she should've placed a call to the detective in charge of the investigation to bring him down to the prison. If he didn't make it in time to question the man, he still would've gotten the license plate and been able to track him down.

I know she was probably feeling the stress of the moment, but she had a lot of time to think, and I'm really surprised that this plan just didn't occur to her.
But she did NOT have a lot of time to think. The thought that the man looked like the police composite sketch of Anita's shooter came to her after the 30 minutes had passed, while he was getting on his motorcycle. And by that point, it's kind of asking a lot to be able to make out the numbers on a tiny license plate from across a parking lot.

The segment made no mention of it but I would have to assume that Michelle contacted the detective once that thought crossed her mind. I don't know what the protocol is for visiting someone in prison but I'm assuming this man that visited Mel had to have signed in with a fake name. Otherwise, he would have been caught or questioned by now.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:49 PM   #19
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I don't think she really started to realize it until later in the parking lot and by that point how would she know he drive in on a motorcycle rather than a car, let alone which one would have been his.

I think she probably is right. I do wonder though why he'd just bang up her gate rather than just outright kill her though. Mel doesn't seem the type to do subtle, and letting the incident pass would have been a more effective way to throw off her theory than having her start getting stalked and threatened for it.


As an aside, I love that when that Investigation Discovery show did this story they cast a fitness model to play Mel.
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Old 11-26-2018, 07:29 PM   #20
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I'm reading No Sanctuary again for the first time in about seven years. There were a LOT of things I had forgotten in Samit's gem of a telling about this case.

The book is subtitled The True Story of a Rabbi's Deadly Affair, but said rabbi is mentioned almost as something of an afterthought in the UM segment. His name is Steven B. Jacobs, ordained in the Reform tradition, and although now retired he is certainly not an unknown within the rabbinate. He marched with and spoke alongside Jesse Jackson for decades, and during the Vietnam War helped resettle refugee families. At the time of Anita's marriage to Mel Green in 1981, he was the senior rabbi at Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA.

Intriguingly, Samit paints a picture of a man who was something of an egomaniac, with a sensitivity for any indication that anyone else in the congregation might be gaining any degree of popularity over him, or attracting attention away from himself. When he suddenly decided it would be best to fire the beloved cantor (a cantor is responsible for singing the prayers in worship services and events like funerals), his reasoning being that said cantor could read only transliterated Hebrew instead of the real thing, Temple Judea went into a frenzy. Jacobs issued an ultimatum: the congregation had to choose between keeping the cantor, or keeping him as rabbi. Long story short, it took about four rabbis aside from Jacobs himself and a congregational vote to get it sorted out. They kept the cantor, and subsequently Jacobs decided to leave to start another temple, taking about eight couples from Temple Judea with him. Anita and Mel were one of those couples.

From 1983 to her murder in 1990, the main push in Anita's life was to see the building of a new temple to house this new congregation, which they named Shir Chadash. For those that haven't read the book, to say that this became nearly an obsession for Anita is an understatement. Anita's motives, according to Samit's telling, however, didn't appear to rest solely on a singular devotion to her faith. Anita was obsessed with the dynamic, charismatic, well-known and well-loved rabbi, and sought his approval with fervor.

For his part, in the wake of Anita's death he lied to police several times about the nature of their relationship, and once ultimately found out, begged them not to ruin his reputation by publicizing it. He would marry his third wife less than a year after Anita's death, and is now apparently married to Betty Yee, the current California state controller. A temple building to house Shir Chadash never actually materialized, despite a groundbreaking ceremony. Jacobs would go on to help found Temple Kol Tikvah with the Shir Chadash congregation and another breakaway Reform congregation, and that temple still exists today.

All of this to say that the focus on Mel Green works for a fifteen minute segment, but not at all in the telling of the full story. Anita's involvement with Jacobs really was such a huge part of it, and it seems so curious that the segment really all but left much of that out. Mel Green may have been conspicuously slimy, but Jacobs at various points in the book seems even worse: a guy with a facade of great respectability (one that he still seems to enjoy, in fact), but who goes running to police in the wake of his mistress's brutal assassination not to help find the killer, but to beg the cops not to air his dirty laundry.

That's not to say Mel gets off the hook. By all accounts, he was an insufferably jealous and obnoxious man liked by nearly no one, and I absolutely believe he hired someone to murder his wife because she had the audacity to ask for a divorce. But I don't think he's the only bad guy here. He might by far be the worst of them--but he's certainly not the only one.

Apparently Samit, who was a member of Shir Chadash at the time, was strongly ostracized--if not outrightly shunned--by her community for writing the book, which was extremely critical of Jacobs.
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:40 AM   #21
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Is this on prime
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Old 11-27-2018, 10:28 AM   #22
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Is this on prime
Yes. It's on Season 6, episode 18, second segment.
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:11 AM   #23
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Intriguingly, Samit paints a picture of a man who was something of an egomaniac, with a sensitivity for any indication that anyone else in the congregation might be gaining any degree of popularity over him, or attracting attention away from himself. When he suddenly decided it would be best to fire the beloved cantor (a cantor is responsible for singing the prayers in worship services and events like funerals), his reasoning being that said cantor could read only transliterated Hebrew instead of the real thing, Temple Judea went into a frenzy. Jacobs issued an ultimatum: the congregation had to choose between keeping the cantor, or keeping him as rabbi.

For his part, in the wake of Anita's death he lied to police several times about the nature of their relationship, and once ultimately found out, begged them not to ruin his reputation by publicizing it.
He sounds like a nauseating narcissist. And it's a shame that his self image was his top priority over his lover's murder, the fact that her husband had her killed and his role in the destruction of that marriage. Granted, Melvin gets zero sympathy from me but Jacobs certainly is no angel.

It's also a shame that the community would ignore all this horrible behavior on Jacobs part and shun Michele Samit for calling it out.
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:43 PM   #24
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He sounds like a nauseating narcissist. And it's a shame that his self image was his top priority over his lover's murder, the fact that her husband had her killed and his role in the destruction of that marriage. Granted, Melvin gets zero sympathy from me but Jacobs certainly is no angel.

It's also a shame that the community would ignore all this horrible behavior on Jacobs part and shun Michele Samit for calling it out.
I was pretty appalled by all of it. However, it really does put into perspective that these cases involve real people--not characters--and this alone adds so many layers of nuance and complexity that can hardly be rivaled by any work of fiction.

Also, I think I just might be one of those old-fashioned folks who still thinks a religious leader is generally beholden to a certain ethical code, so I bristle whenever I read about that kind of stuff.
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