Report: Ringleader in Abu Khadeir murder found fit to stand trial, despite insanity plea

Jerusalem District psychiatrist's opinion finds that Yosef Haim Ben-David is responsible for his actions, Channel 2 reports.

February 22, 2016 22:14
1 minute read.
Abu Khdeir

Muhammad Abu Khdeir. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Ahead of the verdict for the central defendant in the murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abut Khadeir, the Jerusalem District psychiatrist has determined that Yosef Haim Ben-David is fit to stand trial and is responsible for his actions, Channel 2 reported Monday.

Ben-David, who has not yet been sentenced in the case, had attempted to plead insanity.

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According to the Channel 2 report, the findings of the psychiatric report were contrary to a previous opinion presented by Ben-David's lawyers on behalf of a psychiatrist abroad.

The case has not yet concluded due to the awaited addition opinion of the Jerusalem District psychiatrist.

In early February, two of the three convicted murderers in the Abu Khdeir case were sentenced in the Jerusalem District Court.

The first, a 17-year-old, received a life sentence plus three years, and the second, age 16, received 21 years. Their names are still under a gag order.

Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old from Shuafat in northeastern Jerusalem, was abducted, burned and brutally murdered on July 2, 2014, while waiting to enter a mosque.


On November 30, a three-judge panel found all three defendants perpetrated the murder of Abu Khdeir, but delayed formally convicting the adult, Ben-David, after an unprecedented 11th-hour insanity plea.

Throughout a yearlong trial, Ben-David claimed insanity, but he never filed a psychiatric report that could give his plea a chance.

Until the November 30 hearing, there was little doubt that Ben-David would be convicted by the three-judge panel of Zaban, Friedman-Feldman and Carmel with the insanity plea having nothing legal to stand on.

But right before the verdict, Ben-David’s lawyer, Asher Ohayon, shocked the courtroom, having quietly (without notice to the public) produced to the court an insanity plea psychiatric opinion just in time for the verdict.

Although such conduct is not allowed according to legal procedure, because Ben-David was not yet convicted, the court decided it will review the opinion.

However, as a result, the district psychiatrist for Jerusalem  requested on behalf of the state to carry out a reevaluation.

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