court gavel 88.
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Citing insufficient evidence, the Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday acquitted underworld figure Yehiye Turk of the 1999 murder of the three-year-old son of gray-market kingpin Asher Iloz during an attempt on his life.
In a murder that sent shockwaves through the Israeli underworld, Aviv Iloz, 3, was killed in April 1999 after his father's car exploded in Rishon Letzion. Asher Iloz was hospitalized in serious condition but was arrested a short time later after he allegedly tried hiring a hit man to kill those responsible for his son's death.
According to the indictment, Turk conspired with two other criminals - Haim Nahman Ben Yishai - AKA Bialik - and Avi Galikarov - to murder Iloz. Turk was charged with providing Bialik and Galikarov with the bomb which they planted under Iloz's car. Turk at one point turned state's witness and incriminated his two brothers in the murder, but afterwards reneged on the deal and the prosecution decided to charge him with the murder.
On Wednesday, following a three-year trial, Judges Savione Rotlvei, Ofra Charaniyak and Avraham Tal cleared Turk of the murder charges but found him guilty of manufacturing a weapon and transferring it to others to be used to commit a crime. The judges dismissed confessions made by Turk during the period he was a state's witness in which he admitted to his involvement in the murder. The prosecution heavily relied on the confessions which were found to be inadmissible by the court which ruled that the police used improper means to obtain them.
"Even if the evidentiary basis had been found to be true," the judges wrote in their decision, "it could not serve as a basis to convict a defendant on murder charges."
"The prosecution," the judges continued, "did not fulfill its obligation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Turk was involved beyond the preparations [for the murder] which was necessary to prove to be able to convict him."
Wednesday's decision was the second time this week that the court acquitted a murder suspect on the grounds that confessions he provided the police had been improperly obtained. On Monday, Victor Koznitzov was found innocent in the murder of a homeless man in Bat Yam after the court ruled that the police used improper means in extracting a confession.