(photo credit: COURTESY THE FAMILY)
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the appeal of Hussein Yussuf Hasin Halifa against his conviction and life sentence for the murder of Shelly Dadon on May 1, 2014.
Halifa tried to claim that his confession and re-enactment of the murder at the crime scene were taken under duress, without full explanation of his rights and after his interrogators had exhausted him using sleep-deprivation.
Supreme Court Justices Uri Shoham, Yoram Danziger and Anat Baron wrote that evidence including his DNA being found in Dadon’s fingernails and in his taxi cab as well as a video of his re-enacting the crime showing him of sound mind and other evidence disproved his defenses which were also rejected by the lower court.
Halifa was convicted and sentenced in September 2015 by the Nazareth District Court.
Despite rejecting most of the appeal, the Supreme Court did reduce his fine of NIS 258,000 to each of Dadon’s parents to a single fine for the two of them.
The lower court had written at his conviction that it was “totally and completely clear that the accused before us was the murderer.”
Dadon disappeared while on her way to a job interview in Migdal Ha’emek on May 1, 2014. On June 16 of that year the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested Halifa, a taxi driver from Ibillin in the Galilee.
Halifa picked up Dadon on the way to the interview and took her to a deserted parking lot, where he stabbed her to death, leaving wounds across her entire body. He then washed his taxi in a failed attempt to get rid of evidence linking him to the crime, and ditched Dadon’s wallet in the Beduin village of Beit Zarzir, where it was found by local youths.
Since Dadon was killed, the police and the Shin Bet said it was most likely a terrorist attack, even as the prosecution filed the indictment without noting any nationalistic motive, implying that the murder was criminal in nature.
After the killing, relatives of Dadon and residents of Afula held protests in the city, calling on the police to find the killer and for Israel to end the practice of releasing convicted murderers in agreements with the Palestinians.
After hearing the sentence in September 2015, Dadon’s parents, Yaakov and Elana, continued to maintain Halifa had murdered her “because she was a Jew.”