Law Clerk’s Killer Gets 20-Year Sentence

In a post two years ago at Legal Blog Watch, I reported the murder of Gabriel Lerner, a 27-year-old Georgetown University Law School graduate who worked in the U.S. Virgin Islands as a law clerk to a Superior Court judge. Lerner was murdered on his way to bible study by two hitchhikers he picked up.

Now, one of his killers, 19-year-old John Jared Southwell, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to a report in the Virgin Islands Daily News. Southwell confessed to taking part in the crime and pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault-robbery.

Lerner, a native of Milwaukee, Wis., had moved to St. Thomas less than a year before he was killed.

As many of you know, I practiced in St. Thomas early in my career and remain a member of the Virgin Islands bar. I never met Gabriel but I nevertheless feel grief over his senseless death.