The trial of Michal Aloni, the Ra’anana woman accused of murdering her two young
daughters, continued on Thursday in the Central District Court in Petah
According to the indictment filed against Aloni, in November 2010
she strangled her youngest daughter, four-year-old Roni, with a sock and
immediately afterwards strangled her six-year-old daughter, Natalie.
Thursday’s hearing, the court heard testimony from two witnesses, Adv.-St.-Sgt.-
Maj. Ronen Golan, the police investigator who interrogated Aloni after she was
remanded in custody; and her neighbor, Avraham Belinson.
Even though a
psychiatric evaluation submitted in April 2011 found that Aloni was fit to stand
trial, in her cross examination of the witnesses, Aloni’s defense attorney Orit
Hayoun attempted to establish that Aloni had mental problems and that the police
investigators knew this.
First on the witness stand was police
investigator Golan, who testified that he interrogated Aloni after she was
remanded in custody, and told her that she was suspected of murder.
direct questioning by prosecuting attorney Rakefet Mohar, Golan testified that
Aloni answered initial questions about her marriage and daily life clearly but
“made a kind of switch” when questioned about the investigation and merely
repeated that she could not remember.
“She understood what she did to her
children,” Golan testified. “She was not in a poor mental condition so that she
did not understand my questions.”
Golan also testified that on December
2, 2010, less than a month after her children were found dead, Aloni was taken
back to her apartment at her own request to help stage a reconstruction of what
“Throughout the entire reconstruction, [Aloni] did not faint
once,” Golan testified, adding that Aloni had laid flat on the bed in her
daughters’ room. “I suppose that’s when the memory of what she did came back to
her,” Golan added.
Golan was then cross-examined by Aloni’s defense
attorney, Hayoun, who asked him why he did not take into account during the
investigation that Aloni suffered from mental problems.
Hayoun put it to
Golan that he was aware that Aloni had mental problems, and that by
interrogating and investigating her, he had knowingly deprived her of her
However, Golan testified that he had never believed Aloni
suffered from a mental disability.
During the cross-examination, Hayoun
cited testimony given to police by Aloni’s neighbors and relatives, including
her husband, Amos Aloni, who said that in the past Aloni had showed signs of
behaving strangely, such as screaming.
“Unfortunately, people always say
that ‘the writing was on the wall’ when something like this [crime] happens,”
Golan told the court.
“That does not mean a defendant has mental or
Attorney Hayoun also asked Golan why he later
said to his colleagues that he was concerned Aloni was unfit to stand trial,
saying this indicated he knew she had a mental disability.
said he did not believe Aloni had mental problems.
“After I investigated
her and knew her better, I got the feeling from her that she is rather
manipulative, and that she preferred to repress what had happened rather than
cooperate,” Golan told the court, explaining that he had wondered why Aloni had
initially admitted strangling her daughters, but later refused to tell police
how she did it.
“I believe that maybe she did not remember how she did
it,” Golan continued. “I stress that later that day [during his interrogation
with Aloni] I understood what she was about, and I realized that she did not
want to remember, not that she did not remember.”
Hayoun also asked Golan
why he had prevented Aloni during her interrogation from talking with her sister
Mira, who is a lawyer.
“We do not allow any suspect, especially in a case
such as this, to talk with his family members,” Golan told the court. “I know
that [Aloni] did not want to talk with her sister as a lawyer, she wanted to
talk to her as a sister.”
Next on the witness stand was Aloni’s neighbor,
Belinson, who testified that on the day of the murders he had told police that
Aloni’s family had “mental problems.”
However, Belinson said that he was
not aware Aloni had ever been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.
knew that her home had all kinds of problems, it was like a sort of ‘pressure
cooker’ in there,” said Belinson. Aloni once told him that her mother did not
want her, her husband and children to live in the apartment, and tried to throw
them out, Belinson testified.
Several months before the stranglings he
had gone to Aloni’s apartment after hearing shouting, Belinson
Belinson testified that on that particular occasion, he arrived at
the same time as police and security personnel from the apartment
At first, Aloni refused to open the door, but later let him and
the police in. He said he saw Aloni’s two daughters sitting quietly on a sofa as
Aloni ran up and down the hall, Belinson said, screaming and muttering to
herself that her brother had attacked her, although her brother was not
Belinson said he told the police officer present at the scene
that Aloni had mental problems.
Later, two social workers arrived at the
scene, and told Belinson he could leave, he testified.
police that Aloni had been “hysterical and out of control,” but told the court
that he had not meant that in the “psychiatric sense.” He said he later realized
Aloni had not been “out of control.”
Belinson also testified that Aloni
had behaved strangely a short time before the day of the killings. He said he
and his wife would regularly give Aloni second-hand children’s clothing for her
daughters, but on that particular occasion, days before the killings, Aloni
refused to come and take the package he offered, he testified.
also testified that the family had economic difficulties, which was why he and
his wife had offered them the second-hand children’s clothing.
parents had also insisted on a “strict regime” inside the house, Belinson
“It was not like any Israeli home I know,” he told the court.
“Everything had to be within fixed boundaries, and I don’t know what happened to
those who deviated from those boundaries.”
Aloni’s mother was the only
neighbor who had ever complained about the children playing in the apartment
block, Belinson said. “I figured [Aloni’s mother] just lived in her own world,”
The panel of judges, Ruth Lorch, Tzvi Dotan and Irit
Weinberg-Nutovitz, ruled the trial will continue on March 27.