The Beersheba District Court on Sunday sentenced 20-year-old Eden Ohayon to life in prison for stabbing a man to death, for asking him and his friends to stop making noise outside his apartment at night so his baby could fall asleep.
The brutality of the May 2012 murder and the picture of Gadi Vichman’s wife, Michal, seeing her husband stabbed to death by Ohayon while holding her crying baby shocked the nation at the time.
The police also came under severe criticism at the time for failing to respond to calls for help from the Vichmans.
Responding to the conviction, Michal Vichman expressed satisfaction that justice was being served to Ohayon, who had killed her husband in cold-blood. The prosecution also expressed satisfaction that there would be “no tolerance” for violent behavior by youths like Ohayon, particularly with what it called a disturbing trend of youth violence with knives.
Security personnel were forced to physically restore order in the court and remove Ohayon’s family after they burst out in anger and started cursing Michal following the reading of the sentence.
Ohayon’s legal team said it would appeal to the Supreme Court.
Gadi Vichman, 36, went out to speak to a group of noisy youths two hours after his wife called police to the park near their home on that May night. When the municipal patrol car failed to materialize and the noise – which included shouting and bottles breaking – continued to keep their baby awake, Vichman went downstairs to speak to the youths and was stabbed to death by Ohayon.
The court rejected the defendant’s claims that the stabbing was merely a case of manslaughter and not willful murder, which occurred as self-defense during an argument during which Vichman allegedly provoked Ohayon.
It ruled that it did not believe that Vichman had provoked Ohayon, but that even if he had, the provocation did not in any way justify Ohayon’s attacking Vichman with a knife.
The court also rejected Ohayon’s claim that he could not be convicted of murder when he had stabbed Vichman only once.
Ohayon was also ordered to pay the victim’s family NIS 200,000 in restitution, despite a request by his lawyer to limit the sentence to the prison term.
On the night of the stabbing, Ohayon and a group of his friends had gathered in a park close to Vichman’s apartment. With Ohayon were his girlfriend – a minor identified only as M.H. – and Chen Harel, Lial Peretz, and Or Mesika. Ohayon carried a knife with him, the indictment said.
According to the indictment, Ohayon and his friends made a great deal of noise that disturbed the neighbors, and caused Vichman’s infant daughter to wake repeatedly.
At one point, Michal Vichman went onto the family’s balcony overlooking the park and shouted at Ohayon to keep the noise down – but when youths took no notice, the indictment said, Michal called the police.
Later that night, Vichman went out onto his balcony and asked Ohayon and his friends to be quiet.
According to the indictment, Vichman told the youths that while there was no problem with them being in the park, they should be quieter because there were people living nearby.
However, the indictment said, Ohayon’s response was to curse Vichman, calling him a “son of a whore.”
After that, Michal called the police again, who told her they had already sent a patrol car to the scene.
Meanwhile, Ohayon and his friends continued to make a great amount of noise, and at one point Ohayon spoke loudly on his cellphone with someone, cursing that person and telling him to come meet him at the park.
A short while later, Vichman went back onto the balcony and told Ohayon and his friends he was coming down. Michal told the youths that she had called the police, the indictment said. Ohayon sat on a park bench and cursed and shouted at Michal and Vichman.
“Let’s see you come down here,” Ohayon allegedly said, continuing to shout obscenities referring to Vichman’s mother.
At around 2:15 a.m., Vichman left his apartment, jumped over the fence separating his apartment block from the park and went over to Ohayon and his friends.
Michal, fearing what would happen to her husband if he approached the youths, shouted from the balcony for him to come back to the apartment.
At that point, Ohayon jumped up from the bench and began walking toward Vichman, the indictment said, while his girlfriend M.H. told him to “drop it” and leave.
However, when Ohayon reached Vichman, Vichman head-butted him, hitting his lips, the indictment said.
The blow pushed Ohayon back slightly, but the youth remained on his feet and moved toward Vichman, holding his knife. Ohayon plunged the knife deep into Vichman’s chest, then made a cutting movement from left to right before pulling the knife out of Vichman’s body.
Vichman collapsed, blood pumping from his chest, as Michal watched from the balcony.
She began screaming for help, but Ohayon and his friends fled the scene, leaving Vichman wounded on the ground. Paramedics tried to resuscitate Vichman, but he died at the scene.
As he ran, Ohayon threw the knife into a garbage container, but it was later recovered.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this story.