Spanish journalist in custody over deadly hit-and-run in Jerusalem

The suspect, identified as Julio de la Guardia, 50, appeared at the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday.

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September 25, 2018 15:43
2 minute read.
Car Accident

Car involved in Jerusalem hit-and-run incident. (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)

 
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A Spanish journalist is in custody following a hit-and-run accident that killed a pedestrian in his thirties in Jerusalem’s Paris Square on Sunday night.

The suspect, identified as Julio De La Guardia, 50, appeared at the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday, where his remand was extended until September 27.

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On Monday night the court instructed the release of the suspect to house arrest, but the appeal by police to delay his release by another two days was accepted by the court on Tuesday. De La Guardia had been due to spend his house arrest at the house of the deputy Spanish consul in Jerusalem.

It is suspected that De La Guardia was driving under the influence and fled the scene after hitting his victim, an American tourist. Police found and arrested the suspect an hour-and-a-half later as he was parking his car in the Mount Scopus area, according to the Jerusalem Police spokesman.

De La Guardia lives in Jerusalem and works for the Spanish news website Esglobal.

The attorneys representing De La Guardia have argued that he was fleeing from three motorcyclists who attacked him, and during his escape he hit the pedestrian.

Attorney Yinon Heiman told Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot : “This person found himself in a Kafkaesque situation. Three motorcyclists attacked him, struck his vehicle and cursed him. He escaped the scene and heartbreakingly during his escape a man was hurt. Later he turned himself in to the police. The results of the blood tests to check his alcohol levels have not been released yet.”

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According to local media, a breath test detected three times the legal limit of alcohol.

Another attorney representing De La Guardia, Leon Emires, told Yediot : “I spoke with him in his mother tongue and he told me about his fear of the three bikers. He thought they were going to kill him and so he escaped.”

Also Tuesday, the name of Israeli Premier League soccer player Itzhak Asefa was released for publication as the suspect involved in a separate hit-and-run incident that injured two teenagers in Tel Aviv on Monday morning. Asefa, 19, plays for F.C. Ashdod. Two 16-year-old boys who had been riding electric bikes were injured, one moderately and the other seriously. Police suspect that Asefa was driving under the influence.

Asefa’s remand was extended by two days on Monday night while another soccer player from Ironi Kiryat Shmona, who was with him in the car, was released to house arrest. The latter is suspected of fleeing the scene with Asefa and helping him hide the car.

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