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(photo credit: Channel 2)
Police and members of the Northern District Attorney's office reiterated Monday that despite claims by David Spiegel, Roman Zadorov's defense attorney, they have a strong case backing up claims that Zadorov is indeed the murderer of 14-year-old Ta'ir Rada.
In what is turning out to be one of the most hotly-contended murder trials in recent years, Zadorov appeared in court Monday and denied the charges against him.
Zadorov, Spiegel, and Rada's family and legal counsel all arrived at the Nazareth District Court for one of the first preliminary hearings in the murder trial.
Zadorov's attorney, David Shpiegel, argued during the hearing that the timetable of documented events contradicts the prosecutors' claims. Spiegel said that Zadorov was seen minutes after he allegedly killed the high school student, which would have made it difficult for him to dispose of the murder weapon and other evidence before reappearing.
Spiegel confirmed that around the time of the murder, Zadorov left the bomb shelter where he was working. But Zadorov's attorney claimed that he left the high school campus during that time to wait for his employer in a nearby parking lot.
"My hands are clean. They don't have Ta'ir's or anyone else's blood on them. My heart is clean. I didn't do anything. The police are making a mistake," Zadorov said during his court appearance.
Mirit Stern, head of the criminal department of the Northern District Attorney's Office, said that evidence unequivocally supports the conclusion that Zadorov is the murderer. Among other physical evidence, police say that Zadorov's footprint - including a number of unique, tell-tale signs - was discovered on Rada's clothes.
This fits Zadorov's reenactment, during which he showed how he stood on the toilet seat, where Rada's body was located.
Investigators have also cited the fact that Zadorov disposed of the pants he was wearing on the day of the murder. But Spiegel has explained that two days after the stabbing, Zadorov threw away the pants that he wore on the day of the murder because he had gained weight and they no longer fit.
During the hearing, District Court President Justice Menachem Ben-David ruled that three judges will hear the case, including Yitzhak Cohen, the vice president of the Northern District Court.