The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Monday extended by 10 days the remand of a local musician arrested a day earlier on suspicion of bludgeoning his wife to death on Thursday night. The suspect, Ilan Ben-Ami, fled the scene on Thursday night, sparking a manhunt until he was found on Thursday.
In court on Monday Ben-Ami was ordered sent for psychiatric exams, following a request made by his lawyer, who said his client had been suffering from severe depression and suicidal tendencies.
On Sunday night, Ben-Ami was taken by police to reenact the crime, and reportedly showed investigators how he beat his estranged wife Daphne Bar-Tzion to death and stashed the murder weapon. He also showed police the escape route he took and the places where he hid in Tel Aviv.
Ben-Ami, 47, was found on Frug Street in Tel Aviv only a few hours after police sent out a statement to the press asking for members of the public who may have details about his whereabouts to come forward.
Before the appeal, police said that the trail hadn’t run cold; they were just looking to raise public awareness in case someone had seen him.
Both Ben-Ami and Bar-Tzion were well known in the Tel Aviv social scene. Bar-Tzion had been a singer in her younger days, before opening Cafe Suzanna, a restaurant in Neveh Tzedek that has been a local institution for the past 20 years.
Ben-Ami was the guitarist for the band Habreira Hativeet and one of the writers and creators of “Baby Oriental,” an album of children’s songs put to Mizrahi, Mediterranean, and world beat rhythms.
Months before the murder Bar-Tzion submitted a domestic violence complaint against Ben-Ami. Police took Ben-Ami for questioning at the time and recommended he be indicted, but the case did not advance beyond that stage.