(photo credit: Channel 2)
Police said Wednesday that Avi Dar, suspected of stabbing his landlord Tzipora Nahmo to death in her Jerusalem apartment the previous night, had admitted to the crime, but was refusing to answer questions regarding his motive.
Later in the day, the 43-year-old tenant appeared in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, where his remand was extended for a further ten days.
In the latest of a spate of murders that have jolted the country in recent weeks, police were called to the apartment on Rehov Meir Feinstein in the capital's Armon Hanatziv neighborhood after neighbors reported hearing screams coming from inside. The door to the apartment was locked, and firefighters broke it down to discover a woman with multiple stab wounds to the chest.
A Magen David Adom intensive care unit made several unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate Nahmo, and pronounced her dead at the scene.
Police found the suspect in another room of the apartment, holding a knife. He was arrested without incident.
The woman apparently wanted to evict the man from her apartment and had come there to show other potential tenants around.
Yossi Keter, one of those potential tenants, told Army Radio on Wednesday that when the attacker brandished the knife, Nahmo said that she would agree to sign anything he wanted concerning his tenancy.
"I saw her on the floor," said Keter. "He said, 'Get out of here, or I'll kill you as well.'"
Nahmo's partner, Michael Horowitz, expressed his profound shock at the murder of "such a good and righteous" woman in an interview with the radio station on Wednesday morning, but at the same time, said that "the writing was on the wall."
"She had rented the apartment to a man who is a bit crazy, not completely sane, and she was already in the process of evicting him and bringing in other tenants," he said. "But everyone knew he was insane, his father knew he was insane, and still, the police did nothing."
"However, he had agreed to leaveâ€¦we're all in shock."
On a note of sad irony, Horowitz said that on the day of the murder, they had both discussed Friday's deadly beach beating in Tel Aviv, and that Nahmo had said, "How did we come to this, how can such a thing happen."
Nevertheless, Horowitz stressed that this case "is different, because he is insane."
The suspect has a record of violence; he recently slashed one neighbor's car tires, and threatened another with a gun.
Neighbors also told reporters that the suspect had thrown bricks and bottles at people and broken someone's arm. They also complained that police had not done enough following the violent attacks.
In response, police said every one of the incidents had been investigated properly, and that despite the man's record of violence, murder had been unforeseen.
The murder occurred just hours after a masked gunman shot a 22-year-old resident of Tira. Muhab Haqiya, who had a police record, was rushed to Kfar Saba's Meir Medical Center, where he died of his wounds.
Responding to Tuesday's murders, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said the recent surge in violence "should not be blown out of proportion."
"Not every murder can be prevented," Aharonovitch added.
Yet, despite the murder cases that have dominated headlines recently, police figures show that the murder rate has been dropping in recent years.
Seventy-two people were murdered in Israel from the start of 2009 until August 15. During the same period in 2008, 73 murders were recorded, and 79 murders were recorded over the same period in 2007. In 2006, 92 people had been murdered by August 15.
The overall murder statistics made available to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday painted a similar picture. In 2008, 122 people were murdered. While that represents a rise from 2007, during which 116 were murdered, 2006 saw 147 murders.
In 2005, the total stood at 162, while in 2004, 168 murders were recorded by police.
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