Anat Pliner 224.88.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The Tel Aviv District Court ruled on Tuesday that the youth who allegedly
stabbed attorney Anat Pliner to death four years ago did not suffer from mental
retardation to the point where he could not stand trial, thus paving the way for
his likely conviction on charges of murder and attempted robbery in aggravated
Pliner was killed at the door of her home in Ramat
Hasharon in April 2006 by a knife-wielding assailant who stabbed her after
demanding that she hand over all her money. Pliner’s two children were at home
when she was killed.
For two years, police had no idea who had killed
her, and could find no motive for the murder.
Then, in June 2008, they
arrested a 17-and-a-half year old boy who was caught trying to steal a
motorcycle. The police took a DNA sample from him and compared it with the
samples in their DNA reservoir. They found a match with the DNA found at the
scene of the Pliner murder and immediately began to question the suspect on that
It turned out that the youth also lived in Ramat Hasharon, just
300 meters from Pliner’s house. According to the indictment later served against
him, just before 9 p.m. on the day of the murder, the suspect took his father’s
commando knife and holster and a pair of black gloves and walked toward Pliner’s
house. He chose the house at random, knocked on the door and said he was a
neighbor. Then he demanded the money.
After being arrested, the suspect
initially denied having anything to do with Pliner’s murder. However, after the
police described the suffering of the victim’s orphaned children, he suddenly
broke down and confessed. He gave the police details of the murder, and later in
the day reenacted it at Pliner’s home.
Despite the confession, however,
the suspect’s lawyers, Moshe and Shira Meroz, launched a legal campaign arguing
that their client could not differentiate right from wrong and was therefore
Later, they claimed that he was severely mentally
retarded and therefore could not stand trial.
But two professional
investigations disputed that claim.
An IQ test conducted by the Abarbanel
psychiatric hospital indicated that the suspect had a very low IQ but was not
retarded. Another examination, conducted by a Welfare and Social Services
Ministry committee, determined that he could stand trial.
On Tuesday, the
court rejected the defense counsel’s arguments and ruled that the defendant did
not suffer from mental retardation and could stand trial.
however, is not formally a conviction.
Because the suspect was a minor at
the time of the crime, he must undergo an evaluation before he can be
According to Dana Pugach, head of the Noga Center for Victims
of Crime, who provided counsel for the family during the trial, the court will
reconvene on February 1, 2011, to receive the results of the evaluation and will
then likely convict and sentence the defendant.
Pliner’s father, Ofer
Aharoni, told The Jerusalem Post, “There’s no doubt the court’s decision has
calmed us to some degree. However, we are still hoping that the court will hand
down a severe sentence and that the killer will not be out on the streets again
in a few short years. We will continue to be under stress during the coming
months until the sentencing.”
Aharoni added that “the youth went out and
He took a knife and gloves and very simply went out to rob
people. If the court does not hand down a very deterrent sentence, others will
do the same.”
He described his daughter as a successful lawyer “who loved
life. She looked after people.
Often, she did not take money from
clients. She is a loss not only to us, but to the entire country. I hope the
judges will take this into account in determining the sentence.”