Crime scene (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A former contract killer was indicted Wednesday for a brazen – if short-lived – escape from custody at a central Israel hospital one night last November.
Yaron Sankar, 41, was serving two life sentences for a double murder in 2003 when he slipped out of his hospital room at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center at around 10:30 p.m. on November 15 last year. Sankar had been moved to the hospital a little over two weeks earlier after his health declined due to a long hunger strike, which he had launched to protest the conditions of his imprisonment.
On the 85th day of his hunger strike, he decided to make a break for it and “exploited the fact that the jailers guarding him were not paying attention to him,” according to the indictment issued in the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Sankar’s right hand and left leg were cuffed to his hospital bed, but he managed to slip out of the constraints – and to this day it is unclear how, the indictment states.
After freeing himself he rearranged the blankets and pillow on the bed in order to give the appearance that he was still asleep, stole a bag belonging to one of the prison guards, and slipped out of the window and leapt to the ground. Despite the fact that he was a convicted murderer well-known in the Israeli underworld, his hospital room was on the first floor and the windows did not have bars.
He flagged down a cab and asked the driver to take him to Beersheba, saying he had family in the city that could pay him when they get there.
He then called the relative from the driver’s phone, but the driver was not convinced he’d be paid, and let Sankar off near the central bus station in Rishon Lezion.
From there Sankar hailed another cab and asked to be taken to Beersheba, but en route he heard the driver listening to a radio report about his escape. Fearing that he would be identified by the driver, he asked to be taken to Kiryat Gat instead, and when they got to the southern Israel city, he got out of the car and fled without paying.
He eventually made his way to the Beersheba Central Bus Station around 1 a.m., where he was spotted by a security guard who suspected he was the escaped prisoner and asked him for identification.
Sankar turned and ran, but was tackled by the guard, who held him until police arrived.
Sankar now faces additional charges of fleeing imprisonment and theft. he is currently serving life in prison after his conviction in October 2006 for the murder-forhire of Haim Shabi, who was killed in a barber shop in Ramat Hasharon along with Tomer Shabbat, an innocent bystander who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
He later served as a state’s witness in the 2003 murder of Shaked Shalhov, who was killed in a case of mistaken identity during a would-be gangland hit. He argued that the state had reneged on a promise to reward his assistance with improved conditions, leading to his hunger strike.