Judges preside in court (Illustrative).
(photo credit: ILLUSTRATIVE: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A woman who said she heard a voice that drove her to murder her three young children and badly wound a fourth in Rahat in 2012 will serve 18 years in prison, in a plea bargain reached on Tuesday.
Under the agreement, Ahlas Alarjan confessed to three murders and to aggravated assault, and rescinded her previous defense that she was not guilty by reason of insanity.
During the trial at the Beersheba District Court, a number of psychiatrists testified that she was mentally disturbed but did not suffer from any illness that would render her not responsible for her actions.
Alarjan was joined in court on Tuesday by her father as well as her husband, Mahmoud, who is also her first cousin. Prosecutor Ofra Levy acknowledged that the husband does not want to be recognized by the state as a victim of a violent crime and has supported his wife throughout the trial. Levy added that following the husband’s request, the state decided not to tack on any fines or punitive damages in the plea bargain.
Two-month-old Dilal, Miryam, aged five years, and Abed, seven, were found murdered in the family home in the Negev city on September 19, 2012. Miryam and Abed and were stabbed to death while Dilal was strangled. Daughter Shams, three, passed out during the attack, and survived with a 2.5-cm. knife wound to the neck.
The indictment details the horrifying series of events that took place in the home in the 7 Neighborhood of Rahat. Alarjan said that on the night on September 18, 2012, she heard a voice telling her to murder her children, “in order to save them from a cruel fate of rape and terrible torture,” the indictment says.
According to the document: After her husband went to work she called her baby’s daycare facility and said Dilal would not be attending that morning. She then went to the kitchen where she grabbed a large knife used for slaughtering sheep.
She first went to Abed, waking him and striking him repeatedly in the neck with the knife while he pleaded for his life. She then covered him with a pillow and woke Miryam, stabbing her repeatedly in the living room until she bled to death. By this point Abed had also died, and Alarjan went to take a shower, change clothes, and take a walk around the neighborhood.
After returning to the house she stabbed Shams in her bed and told her to return to sleep. Shams, who was screaming and pleading for her life, passed out in the living room where she remained until police and paramedics found her, the sole survivor. The mother took Dilal from his room, breastfed him and then strangled him to death. At two points during the morning she tried to kill herself, after killing Abed and Miryam by hanging herself, and later after killing Dilal, at which point she tried to slit her throat and wrists.
Eventually, Alarjan went to a neighbor’s house to use her phone, and her neighbor noticed that her hands were covered in blood. She called Alarjan’s sister, who arrived at the Alarjan home and began screaming for help. Paramedics and police arrived, and soon the entire city was gripped with shock and horror at what took place at the Alarjan household.