(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Karina Brill, the Russian immigrant accused of murdering her two children with a knife in their Jerusalem apartment in September 2013 before attempting to take her own life, was convicted in their murders in Jerusalem District Court on Sunday.
After deliberating on the case, a three-judge panel led by Judge Tzvi Segal, which previously rejected Brill’s insanity defense, deemed the murders of Mira, five, and Igor, seven, in their Talpiot home a “shocking” and “nightmarish plot.”
“Instinct leads one to believe that it is impossible that a mother would murder her two children so cruelly without a mental illness lurking in the background, but one cannot explain away the deed this way,” the panel wrote in its verdict.
Despite Brill’s contention that she heard a man’s voice in her head compelling her to commit the murders, a state-supervised psychiatric evaluation determined she was not psychotic and was fully aware of her actions.
It was subsequently determined that Brill was pregnant during the attack, and it remains unclear whether the baby was brought to term.
The judges ruled that she committed the murders out of fear that child welfare services would take custody of the children due to abuse and unacceptable living conditions.
Brill, 37, who was recently divorced before making aliya from Moscow in 2012 with the two children without their father, was struggling to acclimate to life in Israel emotionally and financially.
She was scheduled to meet with a Jerusalem Welfare Agency counselor just two hours after the children were killed. An anonymous caller had alerted the agency of her precarious mental state, as well as suspicious bruises on one of the children, one day earlier.
The children’s father, Dmitri Brill, a noted jazz musician from Moscow who arrived in Israel a little over 24 hours following the murders, said he had no indication of the imminent danger his daughter and son were in.
“If I had known, I would have taken them immediately,” Channel 10 reported Dmitri as saying.
Following the murders, Brill impaled herself with the knife in an unsuccessful bid to take her own life.
Brill’s attorney, Ariel Herman, said he would appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court.