kikar hahatulot beating 311.
(photo credit: YouTube)
The Jerusalem District Juvenile Court convicted two teenage boys on Wednesday of
causing death by negligence, after they fatally beat an American-born man over
the head with a wooden plank when he refused to give them a
The two youths, who cannot be named because they are minors,
were indicted in September 2010 for manslaughter, a more serious charge. Their
victim, Lance Wolf, was a 60-year-old American citizen who had been living in
Israel for over a decade.
The killing took place in the early hours of
August 18, 2010, when the two youths, then aged 14 and 15 and both from the
Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem, went out drinking in the center of the
According to the indictment, the two boys went to “Cat Square”
on Hillel Street, where they drank a bottle of vodka. One of the boys approached
Wolf, and asked him for a cigarette. Wolf refused and cursed the boys in
English. Shortly afterward, the two teenagers went over to Wolf, each carrying a
wooden plank, and hit him over the head. Wolf collapsed, and the boys fled, the
Wolf was rushed to hospital, where he underwent
emergency brain surgery, but died five days later. The hospital’s pathology
report listed his cause of death as an intracranial hemorrhage. As part of the
prosecution’s case, a medical expert testified in court that Wolf had died as a
result of the blow he received to his head, and not from any other
The indictment charged that the two boys decided together to
beat Wolf to “teach him a lesson.”
The two defendants, however, told the
court a different story. The first defendant admitted asking Wolf for a
cigarette, and said that Wolf refused. He testified that he later wandered over
to Wolf, while randomly playing with a plank of wood, and that Wolf had stood up
and threatened him with a bottle.
The youth said he tried to defend
himself, and hit Wolf with the plank, but not in order to cause harm and
certainly not to kill him. The second youth testified that he had nothing to do
with hitting Wolf, and that the first defendant had done everything
In convicting the teenagers, Judge Raphael Carmel said that the
events in Cat’s Square had been recorded on a CCTV camera, and that the
recording shows two people walking towards Wolf, and then returning to him
carrying planks. The tape shows Wolf rising from his seat, taking a step towards
the first youth and pushing him before that youth hit him over the head with the
The judge said that the court had to decide what had happened in
those crucial seconds in which the two youths walked over to Wolf.
said that Wolf had not presented any threat to the defendants, and that the blow
they inflicted on him was disproportionate to the events that preceded it. The
judge also said that the two youths had gone over to Wolf to provoke
With regard to the second defendant’s testimony that he had had
nothing to do with the attack on Wolf, the judge said the two defendants had
“The two went together, as one person, to confront
[Wolf],” the judge said. “Each held a large wooden beam, and even if they had
picked up the beams to play with them, they did not go over to [Wolf] to
The two youths will be sentenced at a later date. While the Penal
Code stipulates a three-year prison sentence for adults convicted of causing
death by negligence, it is likely the two defendants in this case will receive a
lesser sentence, because they are minors.
The Seattle-born Wolf arrived
in Israel 10 years ago after traveling in Europe for a few years. He had a
family history of alcoholism, and struggled with the disease for decades. He was
married twice in the US, and had two sons and a daughter. Wolf was estranged
from his sons but maintained sporadic email contact with his daughter.
also had three grandchildren.Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.