Nir Haziza, the man convicted of shooting dead Ramle yeshiva student Yiftah
Mor-Yosef in an attempted underworld hit, was sent to prison for life on
Central District Court judges Ofer Grosskopf, Menachem
Finkelstein and Liora Brody also ordered Haziza to pay Mor-Yosef’s family NIS
258,000 in compensation.
Supreme Court acquits man serving life sentence
“The loss and grief that [Mor-Yosef’s] family
have experienced is immeasurable.
The defendant’s criminal actions
deprived them of their precious son, the apple of their eye,” the judges
The Central District Court in Petah Tikva also sentenced Haziza to
a further 20 years in prison, half of which will run concurrently with his life
term, for the attempted killing of Einav Cohen, the man he had intended to
liquidate as “payback” over a financial feud.
Haziza shot and fatally
wounded 17- year-old Mor Yosef on August 5, 2009, as the teenager sat on a bench
in the central Israeli city. The teenager was rushed to hospital but never
regained consciousness. He died the next day.
According to the
indictment, Mor- Yosef had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time, the
innocent victim of an underworld feud. Haziza, a known underworld figure, was
embroiled in a financial dispute with a man named Morris Krispil. On that fatal
night, he and an unknown accomplice had ridden into Ramle on a motorbike,
intending to execute Krispil’s friend, Einav Cohen, in revenge.
came across Cohen sitting outside a kiosk in the city center, and opened fire.
Cohen attempted to flee the scene, but was seriously wounded and fell into a
coma. As Cohen ran away, one of the 13 rounds Haziza fired hit Mor-Yosef in the
Police suspected Haziza’s involvement and arrested him 12 days
after the shooting. However, it was not until months later, when Cohen awoke
from his coma and named Haziza as the gunman, that police were able to indict
In court, Haziza’s defense attorney, Yarom Halevy, had tried to
argued that Cohen’s testimony was unreliable.
In an attempt to establish
reasonable doubt over whether Haziza committed the shooting, Halevy argued that
Cohen could not possibly have identified the gunman, whose head had been covered
with a black motorcycle helmet during the shooting.
However, in the final
judgement, the court ruled to accept Cohen’s testimony that Haziza shot both him
and Mor- Yosef. The panel of three judges said that Cohen’s version was backed
up by the fact that Haziza had a clear motive to harm Cohen, and by testimony
from an eye witness who had heard exchanges between Cohen and the gunman.
Haziza’s own conduct during the police investigation, when he claimed not to
remember where he had been on the night of the shootings, also supported the
prosecution’s arguments that Haziza was the gunman.
The police had
conducted a ‘professional investigation,’ the judges noted.
that arose during Haziza’s murder trial is that a murder conviction is only made
if the prosecution can prove beyond reasonable doubt that a killing was
premeditated. Haziza had not intended to kill Mor-Yosef, who had been an
However, the fact that the court proved his intention
to shoot and kill another man makes him also guilty of Mor- Yosef’s murder, by
means of “transferred intent,” the judges said.
Under the Israeli Penal
Code, the mandatory punishment for murder is life imprisonment, and in
sentencing Haziza on Sunday, the three judges emphasized the effect that
Mor-Yosef’s death has had on his family.
During the sentencing arguments
hearing, Mor-Yosef’s parents, Rachel and Yehuda Mor-Yosef, gave an “impact
statement” to the court, as is standard in criminal trials in Israel. The couple
talked of the terrible loss of their son, whom they said they had sent to a
yeshiva to study.
“We were so happy with this child,” said Mor-Yosef’s
mother Rachel in court.
“And when I got to the hospital and saw my child,
saw how he was bleeding from the head, saw how the bullet had entered, I will
never forget that sight, I will take that with me to the
Following the conviction and sentencing, Haziza’s defense lawyer,
Halevy, said that his client intends to appeal both in the Supreme
“The conviction was fraught with significant errors,” Halevy said,
adding that Einav could not have identified Haziza as the killer.