Suspect pleads guilty to murder of Efraim Gordon; another to be sentenced in December

Efraim Gordon with his mother, Olga Gordon (Courtesy of the Gordon family)

One of three suspects arrested for the murder of Israeli citizen Efraim Gordon, who was shot to death in May 2021 in front of his aunt’s home in Park Heights, an area of Baltimore City, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Nov. 14.

Gordon, 31, was killed last year in an attempted carjacking while in town to attend a wedding.

William Clinton, 20, will be sentenced on Nov. 3, 2023. He was charged with armed robbery, attempted carjacking, driving the get-away car during the murder and providing the gun used in Gordon’s murder. Another defendant will be sentenced on Dec. 13.

Sara Marshall, Gordon’s cousin, explained that last Monday was supposed to be the trial of the third suspect charged with Gordon’s murder, but they received a call mid-morning from the prosecutor’s office letting them know that the defendant was waiving his right to a jury trial and had accepted a plea deal.

Efraim Gordon (Courtesy of the Gordon family)

Approximately 20 family and community members attended court on Nov. 14 to show their support. Their presence, stated Marshall, was comforting to the family, especially because many of the community members who showed up did not know Gordon personally.

In addition to Marshall and her husband, Rabbi Shneur Marshall, two other family members read a victim statement: her sister, Sterna Bisk; and her mother, Miriam Reyder, Gordon’s aunt in whose home he was staying while visiting Baltimore.

“Monday was very difficult,” said Marshall, “because it brought back a lot of emotions. But our family has been very grateful that this case has been proceeding with accountability, that it was taken seriously, and that three of the four suspects have been charged with murder in the first degree.”

While Gordon’s parents wanted to attend the hearing, they chose not to, added Marshall, because they are still mourning the loss of their only son.

“Efraim’s parents and sister are forever splintered; the trauma is too strong,” said Marshall. “Efraim was their only son, who would have continued the family name and who was engaged to be married. It is a very long journey to heal from this trauma and grief.”

Marshall added that they have found comfort in honoring Gordon’s memory in various ways; one of them includes the completion last year of a Sefer Torah in his name. Marshall’s brother, Rabbi Dovid Reyder, who leads Chabad of Catonsville and UMBC, started a prayer service in Gordon’s name, and another brother, Rabbi Eli Reyder, has dedicated a library of meaningful books at his Chabad House in South Carolina.

Efraim Gordon (Courtesy of the Gordon family)

Both Marshall and her parents decided to move out of the neighborhood where Gordon was murdered. Marshall, who lived a couple of houses from her mother — and whose husband heard the gunshots the night Gordon was killed and ran to give him aid — will move to West Pikesville in the coming months, while her parents moved out this past summer.

“We didn’t just want to move because every time we are outside the memories of that night come rushing back,” explained Marshall. “We wanted to make our move meaningful, and therefore, my husband and I will be opening a Chabad presence in West Pikesville in memory of Efraim.”

Catonsville/UMBC Chabad and the new West Pikesville Chabad are both under auspices of Chabad of Maryland, run by head shliach (“emissary”) Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan.

The new Chabad House will be dedicated during Chanukah, this coming Dec. 22.

The couple also named their 9-month-old son Efraim to honor Gordon’s memory.

Efraim Gordon is survived by his parents, Boruch and Olga Gordon, of Jerusalem, in addition to his sister, Ella.

Efraim Gordon displays his academic degree in Israel. (Courtesy of the Gordon family)
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