Police car in Tel Aviv at night 311.
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Some two decades after he murdered his first wife, the state indicted
65-year-old Mordechai Hai in the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday for stabbing
his second wife, Elsie Lagundai, to death in their Herzliya home on September
The indictment said that Hai attacked Lagundai with a kitchen knife
while she was sleeping, stabbing her 10 times.
During the attack,
Lagundai awoke and attempted to defend herself, at least once deflecting one of
Hai’s blows, leading to him being moderately wounded on his leg, the indictment
Also, in the middle of the attack, Lagundai pleaded for her
life, noted the indictment, but Hai ignored her pleas.
Hai did not stop
attacking Lagundai until their four-year-old daughter ran into the room calling
for him to stop – but Lagundai died from her multiple wounds, said the
A psychiatric evaluation determined that Hai is not in a
psychotic state, and is aware of his condition. Court-appointed defense attorney
Nir Elfasy said his client admitted to having killed his wife.
the accused killed his first wife in a similar fashion, and was sentenced to 14
years in prison – but was deemed unfit for incarceration. Instead, he was sent
to Abarbanel Psychiatric Hospital, where he served out his sentence.
met Lagundai shortly after his release. They were married six years ago and
Prior to the murder, the accused called police and
asked that he be escorted to the couple’s home to gather his belongings, after
which he left peacefully. He explained that he suspected his wife of being
unfaithful and using him in order to be able to stay in Israel legally. The
indictment said that the accused also believed that his wife was involved in
prostitution and drugs.
Elfasy said of his client that “it is obvious
that he is not a well man” and had become “an emotional powder keg” ahead of the
incident. The lawyer added that he would focus on his client’s mental state and
not deny that he carried out the murder.
The prosecution is seeking to
detain the accused until the end of the legal proceedings against
him.Ben Hartman contributed to this report.