1998 murder victim Edward Rothberg.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Eighteen years after he fled Israel to escape a murder charge, the Haifa District Court on Thursday convicted Gennady Galkin of manslaughter in the killing of a 25-year-old student.
In January, the Haifa District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment for the murder of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology mechanical engineering student Edward Rothberg with the city’s district court against Galkin only one week after he was extradited from Germany.
Rothberg was killed in a fight at a nightclub on Nordau Street in Haifa on March 6, 1998.
However, the plea bargain conviction was for a reduced manslaughter charge.
Although the reason for the reduction has not been publicized, The Jerusalem Post has learned that it relates to the extensive passage of time that can create evidentiary issues.
The plea bargain also includes a suggested prison sentence of 12-16 years, which the court will rule on at a later date.
Galkin, 43, stayed silent at a first hearing in January at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court as he was bombarded with questions about the night 18 years ago when he stabbed Rothberg.
“I made a mistake,” were the only words he said at the hearing.
Ch.-Insp. David Solomon, the head of the homicide unit in the Coastal District, said that around two years ago, police received information that Galkin was living in Germany under the name “Mark.” They began an undercover organization with German police, and located Galkin in the Berlin area three months before they picked him up, Solomon said.
In January, the police said that the extradition process took months of cooperation between Israeli prosecutors and their counterparts in Germany. Eventually, officers flew to Berlin to escort Galkin back to Israel.
His attorney, Boris Sherman, told reporters in January that his client has cooperated with investigators and admits only that he was at the Jericho nightclub on the night of the murder.
The indictment described the murder as follows: Galkin arrived in Israel for a visit on March 1, 1998, to reestablish a relationship with a young woman with whom he had been romantically involved.
The romance had ended when he moved to Germany.
On March 6, Galkin went to a small party at the Jericho nightclub, attended by the woman and Rothberg.
At the party, Galkin noticed Rothberg dancing with the woman and making advances. Galkin grew jealous, decided to kill Rothberg and grabbed a knife.
He asked Rothberg to come outside with him to talk and then stabbed him three times in his upper body, causing his death. Next, Galkin reentered the club, washed his hands, left the bar and flew back to Germany on the same day in order to avoid arrest.Ben Hartman contributed to this story.