(photo credit: [Channel 10])
Having failed to convince the judges that she was suffering from a psychotic
episode, 25-year-old Adi Benita was convicted on Thursday for the murder of her
friend Talia Abramowitz.
The three-judge panel of the Tel Aviv District
Court found Benita guilty of stabbing a pregnant Abramowitz to death in the
victim’s Bnei Brak apartment, in December 2008, following an argument over
Abramowitz’s relations with a mutual friend.
The facts of the crime not
being in dispute, the main question discussed in the trial was whether Benita
was responsible for her acts or whether she had suffered a psychotic episode
rendering her unaware and incapable of controlling her actions.
state prosecution and the defense team called in expert witnesses to testify
about Benita’s mental state at the time of the murder, with the defense claiming
that Benita suffered from a rare form of psychosis called Persecutory Delusional
In his testimony before the court, Dr. Gal Shuval said, “It is
possible to determine that Adi [Benita] currently suffers from an active
paranoid psychosis, which expresses itself in a flooding of paranoid delusions
regarding what she believes to be a conspiracy targeted against her by those
surrounding her, including, her sister, her friends, the judge and her
In their ruling, Justices Uri Shoham, Miryam Sokolov and Yehudit
Sheva wrote that both sides’ experts agreed that Benita had long been suffering
from Borderline Personality Disorder, but disagreed on whether she suffered from
psychosis accompanied by auditory hallucinations and uncontradictable
In the end, the judges were convinced by the prosecution
witnesses and determined that Benita was not suffering from a psychotic episode
at the time of the murder and, on the contrary, that she had displayed behavior
that indicated calculation and levelheadedness.
The judges were
particularly impressed by Benita’s ability, after the murder, to recall the
phone numbers of the police, her sister and her psychiatrist, all of whom she
called upon exiting Abramowitz’s apartment.
Regarding the motive, the
judges determined that Benita had pointed to a clear motive, during her
investigation and talks with psychiatrists, telling them she went to
Abramowitz’s apartment in order to confront her over her suspicions that
Abramowitz and their mutual friend, Yaniv Abergil, had been talking about her
behind Benita’s back.
“According to the defendant, the deceased failed to
clear up the issue and didn’t show empathy and understanding to the defendant’s
suffering. She even remained composed and uncaring after hearing that the
defendant planned to commit herself in the Shalvata Mental Health Center. The
defendant felt rejected and humiliated and that can be seen as a reasonable
motive, on her part, to commit murder,” wrote the judges in their
The judges also pointed to behavior exhibited by Benita, leading
them to suspect that she was interested in being found insane in order to ease
“Even if her actions can’t be defined as sophisticated,
there is no doubt that [Benita] took efforts to steer matters in a way that
appeared to her more lenient, even if it meant forced commitment in a
“Similar things can be said about most of her
suicide attempts, which even according to the defendant, were not aimed at
ending her life, but rather of gaining ‘secondary benefits,’ mainly that the
attempts will find expression in her psychiatric evaluation,” wrote the
But in the end, Benita’s claims to insanity neither let her off
the trial nor mitigated her charges, and the judges convicted her of
premeditated murder. The judges determined that Benita’s suffering of Borderline
Personality Disorder as a possible sentence mitigating factor would only be
raised at the pre-sentencing stage of the trial.