Daniel Maoz, the 28-year-old lawyer suspected of murdering his parents in the
Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot last August, took the witness stand for the
first time on Monday in the Jerusalem District Court and continued to proclaim
that his twin brother, Nir Maoz, is responsible for the murders.
arrested a month after the murders and has spent the last six months in prison.
State prosecutors have built a strong case against him, including the fact that
he had a gambling addiction and was hundreds of thousands of shekels in debt, an
addiction Maoz confirmed on Monday.
Additionally, he showed up at a
friend’s apartment to gamble the night of the murders disheveled, nervous and in
As he took the stand, Maoz told the courtroom
“the murderer is sitting right here...”
gesturing to where his twin had
Nir slipped out to the hall as his twin took the stand,
taking Maoz by surprise.
Maoz continued to protest his innocence, calling
the charge that he was the murderer “ridiculous.” “I think the state has
understood that for a while now,” he said.
If the police hadn’t made so
many mistakes in the investigation they would not have arrested him, he
Maoz testified that he began to suspect Nir was planning to hurt
their parents after speaking with him the afternoon of the murder, when Nir
hinted that he needed to “iron out difficulties with our parents.” In the weeks
before, Nir had complained frequently about strains in their relationship and
had said he was capable of murdering them, Maoz testified.
“As soon as I
understood Nir was going to do something, I understood immediately that I would
be more suspicious than Nir,” Maoz said.
He also testified about his
history of gambling addiction and an incident three years ago when he stole
money from his parents and then called the police to report a robbery.
expressed regret for the incident.
Maoz claimed that he went to their
parents’ house the night of the murder in order to warn them that Nir had said
The suspect spoke slowly and deliberately as he
described watching from the bathroom as his twin brother entered the house and
as he heard his parents scream “He’s murdering me!” Maoz said he was “scared to
death” of Nir and was terrified of notifying police, even when they later
started focusing their investigation on him.
Maoz added he was paralyzed
by fear and couldn’t leave the bathroom to call for help or stop Nir during the
“I didn’t know if he was alone, today it’s really hard for me
that I stayed in the bathroom, but if I hadn’t stayed in there I wouldn’t be
here today,” he said.
The judges expressed disbelief as Maoz gave his
“Why didn’t you tell?” chief judge Zvi Segal pressed as he
grew increasingly agitated with Maoz’s attempts to evade the
“Someone murdered your parents in your presence, how could you
not do something with this?” The judges were especially suspicious of Maoz’s
various versions of the night, where he originally claimed he wasn’t at the
house, then he claimed he was but he didn’t see the murderer, then finally he
said he saw the murderer and it was his twin, Nir.
They accused him of
changing his version as police uncovered more information, including security
cameras that placed him in his parents’ neighborhood. Maoz maintained he was
terrified of his twin.
“You are already under arrest, you’ve already gone
through the processes of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extending your arrest,
you are under guard by police and you still are concerned about your twin
brother Nir?” Segal asked. “Why are you still guarding this secret?” When Maoz
tried to protest, Segal admonished him: “You are not in danger from your brother
when you are under police protection!” Maoz answered that no one could
understand exactly what was going through his mind. He also defended his
decision not to call an ambulance after discovering his parents covered in stab
wounds by saying that he knew that they were already dead and an ambulance would
not have helped.
After the murders, Maoz left the house and drove to his
apartment in Tel Aviv. An hour later, Maoz returned to his parents’ house to
clean the crime scene with copious amounts of bleach, including using another
knife to clean under his parents’ fingernails in order to remove traces of DNA.
Nir and Daniel Maoz share the same DNA because they are identical
“It’s instinctive, I can’t explain why, but I have to clean the
knife because there are my fingerprints on it,” Maoz testified, explaining that
he had moved the knife after discovering his parents’ bodies.
“I was sure
they wouldn’t believe me, and I was sure that they’d believe Nir,” he
“I was sure that I’d get arrested because I had already made one or
This is a man who I’m scared to death of. I know one
thing, he’s going to hurt more people if I talk, but if I don’t talk, no one
will get hurt.”
“Maybe you should talk about the truth, Mr. Maoz,” Segal
responded sarcastically after seven hours of testimony stretched on into the
afternoon. “Here, we want to hear the truth. Explain. There is only one
Outside the courtroom, Guy Maoz, one of the four Maoz siblings,
who traveled from America for part of the trial, said the family firmly
“It was clear to everyone that the testimony today was
ridiculous and made a joke out of our beloved parents’ memory,” he
The Noga Legal Center for the Rights of Crime Victims, which is
assisting the Maoz family, sent a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein
asking his office to examine ways to change the legal procedures in order to
minimize the damage to Nir Maoz’s reputation and emotional well-being as a result
of the trial.
“We recognize the right of the suspect to defend himself
and tell his version in court, but we believe the time has come for the court to
determine how far that right can go in hurting this family that has suffered so
much,” said Tali Eisenberg, a lawyer with the Noga Center, said outside the