On Sunday, July 19 the son of Judge Esther Salas was murdered in their home in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Now, for the first time since the tragedy, Salas is speaking out. The Savoy Show aired her statement where she discusses the details of the events leading up to the night a disgruntled attorney knocked on her door dressed as a FedEx delivery man and shot and killed her son and injuring her husband.
“A madman – who I believe was targeting me because of my position as a federal judge – came to my house. Our family had just finished a weekend celebration of our son’s Daniel Mark’s 20th birthday,” she shares.
She goes on to say that their son wanted to celebrate with his parents and they hosted a party (adhering to safety guidelines for Covid-19) at their home with his friends from Catholic University. She calls that weekend a “glorious one filled with love, laughter, and smiles” as she recalls the last moments before the shooter arrived. As she and Daniel were downstairs cleaning the basement, chatting and he says to her, “Mom, let’s keep talking, I love talking to you, mom” and that was the moment the doorbell rang.
She recalls that he immediately ran upstairs to answer the door and within seconds she heard bullets and someone screaming no. “Daniel being Daniel protected his father and took the shooter’s first bullet directly to the chest.” The shooter, later identified as Roy Den Hollander, then directed his gun to her husband whom he shot three times before running away.
The case made headlines not only for the tragic nature of it but because of Salas’ involvement with the class-action lawsuit brought against Deutsche Bank whose customers included convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. But the Daily Beast reports Hollander, 72, had described Salas as a “lazy and incompetent Latina judge” in an online essay. Hollander states he was a men’s rights lawyer and anti-feminist on his website CNN reports and he’d previously presented a case before Salas that was a challenge to the military’s male-only draft. Salas became New Jersey’s first Latina US District Court judge in 2011 after she was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate.
The day after the shooting Hollander’s body was found in Sullivan County, New York inside his car with a gunshot to the head alongside a .380 pistol and the FedEx package addressed to Salas. Salas’ husband Mark Anderl was in stable condition following surgery, his law partner, David Oakley told CNN saying he would need follow up surgery.
In her statement Salas demanded that the private information of federal judges including their home address be kept from the pubic. According to Salas, Hollander knew where they lived and their church and a dossier about her whole family. A simple Google turns up sites including clustrmaps.com and peekyou.com where people can find home addresses and can pay for additional information.
As she wept about having to prepare funeral arrangements for their only child, Salas shared “my family has experienced a pain that no one should ever have to endure, and I am here asking everyone to help me ensure that no one ever has to experience this kind of pain.”