Teen sentenced to 20 years for murder

Defendant was aged 14 when he fatally stabbed his friend to death following an argument between the two.

March 15, 2012 17:17
2 minute read.
Suspect arrested [illustrative]

arrest 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )

The Haifa District Juvenile Court sentenced a teenage boy to 20 years in prison on Thursday after finding him guilty of murder.

The defendant, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, was 14 years and ten months old when he stabbed his 14-year-old friend Osman Nasser to death last June.

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The indictment says the defendant decided to kill Nasser after an argument. When Nasser came to his home in the north of Israel on June 29, 2011, the defendant armed himself with a knife before going out to meet him.

As the two walked through their village, they met another boy, R, who joined them even after the defendant showed him that he had a knife. The three boys reached a dirt track at the edge of the village, and the defendant and R decided to kill Nasser, the indictment says.

As R held Nasser down, the defendant stabbed him five times in the chest, stomach and back. Nasser died of damage to his heart and blood loss.

After killing Nasser, R and the defendant left his body on the dirt track, went to the village school, washed their hands and threw away the knife.

The panel of judges – Yosef Elron, Moshe Gilad and Menahem Raniel – said that a psychiatric evaluation revealed that the defendant was suffering from a “conduct disorder” and anti-social personality disorder.

In a victim impact report to the court, Nasser’s family said the murder had destroyed their happy family life and needed extensive long-term help in processing their grief.

Although the penal code sets a mandatory life sentence for adults convicted of murder, judges are not required to sentence minors to life in prison.

The judges said that, even though the court could therefore use its discretion to impose a sentence on the defendant and could take into account mitigating factors, that legal provision did not change the fact that he had committed the offense of murder.

The primary consideration for leniency, said Judge Elron, was the fact that the minor committed the offense before his mind and consciousness were fully developed and therefore was not able to have a deep understanding of the severity of his actions.

“We concluded therefore – but not without hesitation – that because the defendant is a minor and because he admitted the offenses, we would not impose a life sentence on him,” said Judge Elron.

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