Teitel trial postponed; state studies psychiatric evaluation

Defendant seems subdued and quiet as he sits in the dock – unlike earlier court appearances.

May 6, 2010 05:20
1 minute read.
Jack teitel

Jack teitel 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post)


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The  Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday agreed to give the state until June 1 to study a psychiatric evaluation of alleged Jewish terrorist Jack Teitel before deciding whether or not to accept its conclusion that he is not fit to stand trial.

The evaluation was prepared by psychiatrists at the Shaar Menashe mental hospital, where the suspected killer has been kept under observation since mid-February .

According to the psychiatrists, Teitel is at this moment detached from reality and incapable of understanding the legal procedures going on around him. However, they also wrote that they could not determine whether or not the defendant was legally sane – that is, aware of what he was doing – when he perpetrated the crimes he has been charged with.

The Florida-born, 37-year-old Teitel is accused of the murder of two Palestinians and the attempted murder of three other victims. He allegedly planted a bomb disguised as a Purim gift in front of the house of a messianic Jewish family in Ariel, in the West Bank, seriously wounding teenager Amiel Oritz. He is also accused of planting a pipe bomb at the home of left-wing historian Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell, lightly wounding him.

Teitel was arrested on October 7, 2009 while putting up posters praising an attack on the homo-lesbian youth center in Tel Aviv, in which two people were killed.

The defendant, flanked by five prison warders, seemed subdued and quiet as he sat in the dock – unlike earlier court appearances, when he gave big smiles and flashed the victory sign with his fingers. An English-language translator sat beside him to explain the court proceedings.

Teitel’s attorney, Asher Ohayon, asked presiding judge Ze’ev Segal to summon the psychiatrists who had examined his client to the hearing on June 1. He was hoping to question them on their opinions of whether Teitel was legally sane when he committed the alleged crimes.

But the judge refused. He told Ohayon that the first question to be addressed is whether Teitel is fit to stand trial. If the answer is no, the second question will be irrelevant, for the time being at least, and until the psychiatrists determine that Teitel’s state of mind has improved sufficiently to enable him to stand trial.

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