Hussein Halifa, 34 of Ibillin in the Western Galilee, was indicted for the murder of Shelly Dadon on Wednesday, with law enforcement now less certain of the motive.
The Northern District Attorney’s Office filed the indictment in the Nazareth District Court, which also included charges of illegal possession of a knife and obstruction of justice.
This follows Sunday’s dramatic announcement by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) that it had solved the murder of the 19-year-old woman from Afula, nearly a month after it arrested the man it said carried out the grisly murder.
On June 16, the agency arrested Halifa, a taxi driver from Ibillin, on suspicion of carrying out the murder on May 1.
News of his arrest and confession were only publicized on Sunday, after the media began covering the arrest of a group of Jews for allegedly murdering an Arab teen in a nationalistic crime last week.
The Shin Bet said on Sunday that Halifa confessed to the crime and described details of the murder that were not publicly known.
The security service said Halifa picked Dadon up after he had dropped off workers in the industrial district of Migdal Ha’emek.
Around 8 a.m., she asked for a ride to a job interview nearby, and Halifa offered to take her, but on the way stopped at a deserted parking lot and stabbed her to death, the agency said.
The indictment described a gruesome scene in which Halifa repeatedly stabbed Dadon in virtually every area of her body.
Dadon struggled to escape and scratched Halifa, but was not strong enough to get away, said the indictment.
Halifa tossed Dadon’s cellphone out the window as he was driving away and sometime later tossed out her wallet near the Beduin village of Beit Zarzir, the indictment stated.
He allegedly tried to cover up the murder by washing the blood off of his cab.
Not long after the murder, the wallet was found by a group of local youth, who used Dadon’s credit card, leading to their arrest and a statement by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch that there had been a “dramatic development in the case” and that the crime was most likely nationalistic.
Those six suspects, including minors, were released not long after without charge.
Since then police have been less certain that it was a nationalistic crime, though the Shin Bet said on Sunday that while it has not been able to fully clarify the motive for the murder, “our assessment is it was for nationalistic reasons.”
The murder was followed by protests held by Dadon’s family, calling for security services to find the killers, and for Israel to end the practice of releasing convicted murderers in exchange for kidnapped Israelis.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.