A Rishon Lezion man subjected his mentally ill mother to severe abuse, including
beating and strangling her, according to an indictment filed in the Central
District Court on Thursday.
Viktor Chernish, 42, was the court-appointed
legal guardian of his mother, Nina, the indictment said.
According to the
indictment, Nina suffered from schizophrenia and had spent much of her life in
closed psychiatric facilities in Ukraine, until Chernish brought her to Israel
Once in Israel, she was admitted to a psychiatric
However, in 2010 Chernish released his mother from hospital and
brought her to his Rishon Lezion home, where she stayed until she died last
month, the indictment said. Nina was made her son’s ward of court, making him
responsible for her welfare and finances.
After Chernish brought his
mother to live with him, the indictment alleges, he began to abuse her,
habitually binding her hands and feet together, putting a towel into her mouth
and taping it closed, and even tying the mentally ill woman to various objects
in his home, including a bicycle.
Occasionally, Chernish would go out and
leave his mother locked up in a tiny room without food or drink for hours, the
Allegedly, in March 2011 Chernish left his mother locked
in a tiny laundry room for several hours, until her screams caused neighbors to
call the police, who broke into the house and rescued her.
the indictment alleges, Chernish left his mother locked alone in a room
overnight, while he went out with a friend to pray.
A few days after
that, Chernish forcibly removed his mother from the house by beating her and
dragging her down the stairs, the indictment charges. He then allegedly shoved
his mother into a taxi, and he and a friend drove with her to
In Bethlehem, Chernish took Nina to the Church of the
Nativity, where he prayed for her, the indictment alleges, but on the way back
to their hotel the two began to fight, and Chernish choked his
Two days later, while still in Bethlehem, Chernish allegedly
choked his mother again, this time so hard that her hyoid bone
When Chernish and his mother returned to Rishon Lezion, his
mother’s physical and mental condition began to deteriorate, the indictment
With her hyoid bone fractured, Nina found it difficult to eat, and
developed pneumonia with a high fever, the indictment alleges, and although the
sick woman cried and was agitated Chernish did not take her to see a
Instead, in what were to be the final few days of his mother’s
life, Chernish allegedly tied Nina’s legs together with a rope, tied her hands
with a belt, and then fastened the belt to his mother’s legs.
Chernish was left tied up on the floor for hours, naked, with just a few sheets
over her body, the indictment said, though Chernish would release some of the
bonds to allow her to eat.
For the last few days of Nina’s life, Chernish
stuffed her mouth with a damp towel and tied it in place with duct tape, so she
could not talk, the indictment alleges.
Between April 16 and 17, the
indictment said, Chernish’s mother slept all night with the towel stuffed in her
mouth and secured with duct tape, after being left tied up naked on the floor
On April 18, the last day of her life, Chernish allegedly sat
his mother at the dining table with her legs still tied, and took the towel out
of her mouth so she could eat.
However, Nina Chernish suffocated to death
at around 8.30 p.m., after inhaling food.
Alongside the indictment, the
DA also filed a request that Chernish be remanded in custody throughout the
legal proceedings against him.
That request says Magen David Adom
paramedics found Nina Chernish on April 18 lying on naked on the floor, her legs
bound and pieces of tape hanging around her neck.
An autopsy report said
the woman had died from choking, caused either by an obstruction in her upper
respiratory tract, manual pressure on her neck or by inhaling
Chernish is charged under the Penal Code with violence against a
helpless person while in the capacity of legal guardian, which entails a maximum
seven-year prison sentence; and with violating his obligations as a responsible
person, which attracts a three-year prison sentence.