Police clear Yosef Espinoza, suspected Teitel accomplice

Police clear Yosef Espin

November 5, 2009 22:49
1 minute read.

American-Israeli Yosef Espinoza, who had been suspected of helping alleged Jewish terrorist Ya'acov Teitel, was released by police on Thursday after passing a polygraph test. Earlier in the day, Espinoza had been brought to a remand hearing at the Petah Tikva District Court, and the judge barred reporters from entering, reportedly due to police fears that he would pass messages. Espinoza, a close friend of Teitel and his neighbor in the Shvut Rachel settlement in Samaria, had been suspected of weapons offenses. Security forces are still trying to determine whether Teitel acted alone. No firm evidence has emerged so far to suggest that he had accomplices. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) is still working under the assumption that Teitel acted alone, but has not ruled out the possibility that he had accomplices who are still at large. Police asked the court to bar the press from American immigrant Teitel's remand hearing, saying they also feared he would try to use the media to pass a message. Police did not say to whom they feared he would pass messages, but their request prompted assertions that security services are not sure if Teitel was helped in his alleged conspiracy. Teitel, 36, is accused of murdering two Palestinians in separate incidents and of planting explosives outside the house of Peace Now activist professor Ze'ev Sternhell in Jerusalem and teenage messianic Jew (Christian) Ami Ortiz in Ariel. The Shin Bet is still trying to link him to other unsolved murders. Police have said Teitel played no part in the fatal shooting of two police officers in the Jordan Valley in March and said that he is no longer a suspect in the Tel Aviv gay center shooting that left two dead and 15 wounded in August. On Tuesday, a court-appointed psychiatrist ruled that Teitel is fit to stand trial, but his lawyer Adi Keidar questioned the validity of the test and arranged for a private psychiatrist to weigh in on his client's mental state. Keidar said Thursday's scheduled test was postponed due to technical difficulties and will take place on Monday instead.

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