Washington, DC | www.adc.org | November 2, 2020 – Tomorrow morning the daughter of the late Alex Odeh, Ms. Helena Odeh, and Mr. Samer Khalaf, President of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), will testify at the parole hearing of Robert Manning, the primary suspect in the assassination of Mr. Odeh, ADC’s Southern California Regional Director. Mr. Odeh was murdered by a pipe bomb that exploded upon him entering the ADC office on October 11, 1985, in Santa Ana, California. Also providing a victim statement at the parole hearing is the daughter of Ms. Patricia Wilkerson, Ms. Pamela Wilkerson Thierry; Manning is currently in prison for the murder of Patricia.
Ms. Odeh and Mr. Khalaf will provide testimony urging the parole board not to release Manning. They will talk about the lasting impact the assassination of Mr. Odeh has had on his family and friends, and the Arab American community as a whole.
While the Arab American community lost a hero and our nation lost a civil rights leader, for Ms. Odeh and her two sisters the loss of their father is immeasurable. In her statement, Ms. Odeh will share the personal impact the vicious murder of her father continues to have on her and her sisters, and their mother:
“When my sisters and I were growing up we missed out on father-daughter dances. We couldn’t celebrate Father’s Day. One time while growing up, my sister and I got awards in school. Afterward, my sister asked my mom why our dad wasn’t there. My mom had to relive that day all over again and sit my sister down and try to explain to her why our father was not at our awards ceremony. Our dad was never able to see us grow up or see our achievements. We didn’t have our dad at our graduations, birthdays, holidays, weddings, or birth of our children. We were robbed of a childhood filled with a father’s love because of the horrific actions of people who wanted our father gone.”
Mr. Khalaf will re-affirm the necessity for accountability emphasizing that raced-based hateful violence cannot be tolerated by the US criminal justice system in any way:
“On the morning of his assassination Alex said goodbye to his wife and children for the last time. His daughters lost their father, his wife lost her husband, the community lost a hero, and the nation lost a civil rights leader. We call on the justice system to bring overdue closure and justice to Alex’s family and loved ones for their horrific loss. We mourn with his family and will continue our push for justice.”
ADC continues to demand that the Department of Justice (DOJ) take action against those responsible for taking Alex from us. We will continue to reinforce this demand and maintain pressure on the DOJ and FBI to bring the murderers to justice.
Nearly four decades after the terrorist attack, we have still seen no arrests. No one has been brought to justice for Alex’s murder. Despite strong evidence identifying Manning as one of the multiple suspects, no arrests warrants have been issued, and no one has ever been officially charged. The FBI’s case into Mr. Odeh’s murder remains open, with a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
ADC alongside the family, friends, and community of Mr. Odeh, remain steadfast in our pursuit of justice. We are reassured that the US Parole Commission will deny Manning’s application for parole and that we will see justice prevail.