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BROOKLYN COUPLE ACCUSED OF HELPING KOPP DENIED BAIL

The Brooklyn couple who allegedly helped accused murderer James C. Kopp while he was on the run were denied bail Friday.

A New York City judge ruled against Loretta Marra and Dennis Malvasi and ordered them returned to prison to await a trial or plea deal.

Despite the ruling by U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann, defense lawyers hope that a plea deal can be reached, maybe as early as next week. The deal could allow the two defendants to be released on bail or limit their overall sentence to 27 to 33 months.

"There's been some discussion with the prosecution of a plea deal," said Thomas Eoannou, Malvasi's lawyer.

Marra and Malvasi, who have been in jail for the past 18 months, are accused of helping Kopp elude federal investigators after the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett A. Slepian, a local abortion provider. Kopp recently confessed to shooting Slepian, though he claims his intention was to wound him.

Sources have said that Marra and Malvasi would be offered a plea deal that ensures they spend no more than 33 months in prison. The possibility of a deal came about after a federal judge in Buffalo reluctantly agreed last month to dismiss felony charges against the married couple.

Malvasi, 52, served prison time for bombing abortion clinics in New York City in the 1980s. Marra, 38, is a pro-life activist who often protested with Kopp prior to Slepian's murder. The couple has two young children.

By dismissing the charges, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara cleared the way for Marra and Malvasi to go to New York City and take a plea deal comparable to one he criticized and refused to approve.

e-mail: pfairbanks@buffnews.com

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