Yihye Farhan 248.88.
(photo credit: Dror Artzi / JINI)
Suspected serial killer Adwan Yihya Farhan on Thursday denied killing 18-year-old Dana Bennet in 2003, retracting his previous confession on the matter.
"Dana Bennet's murderer remains free," he said at a Nazareth Magistrate's Court where he was brought by police for an extension of his remand.
Farhan claimed to reporters that he had been framed by police, who wanted to prevent him from testifying in favor of another suspected killer - Roman Zadorov, the man charged with murdering 14-year-old Katzrin high-school student Ta'ir Rada in December 2006.
Bennet disappeared in the early morning of August 1, 2003, after finishing her late-night waitressing shift at a restaurant on the Tiberias boardwalk.
After six years of unfruitful investigations, police last month received a tip that indicated Bennet had been murdered on the day she disappeared, and that Farhan was linked to the case. This led investigators to a 22-year-old immigrant from the former Soviet Union who had married Farhan and converted to Islam. She admitted to officers that she witnessed him kill Bennet with his bare hands. She also told police the area in which the body had been hidden, eventually leading to the retrieval of Bennet's remains.
Farhan on Thursday denied having a romantic relationship with the young woman. "I have one wife - a Beduin, and three daughters," he said. According to Farhan, in testifying against him the woman was simply venting her anger at him and seeking revenge.
On Wednesday the court extended the young woman's remand, her lawyer, Issam Tannous, said. The media is prohibited from publishing her name, because she was a minor at the time of Bennet's killing.
During Thursday's court session, Farhan's attorney Tammi Olman requested that he be sent for psychiatric evaluation, a request granted by the court.
Farhan, who is already in prison for the rape and attempted kidnapping of an Australian tourist last year, has also confessed to three other murders over the past 14 years. Investigators, who have labeled Farhan a serial killer, say there was no apparent motive for his actions outside of pure blood lust.
Abe Selig and Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.