One of the most shocking murder cases in Israel’s history came to an end Monday,
when the Petah Tikva District Court convicted Damian Karlik, 39, of six counts
of murder for brutally stabbing to death six members of a Rishon Lezion family
in October 2009.
In addition to the six counts of first-degree murder,
the court found Karlik guilty of all of the charges in the indictment, including
conspiracy, arson, breaking and entering, and multiple counts of
The sentencing phase of Karlik’s trial will be held in early
December, and prosecutors are expected to ask the court to sentence Karlik to
six life sentences for the massacre.
The murder of six members of the
Oshrenko family, grandparents Ludmilla and Edward Oshrenko, both 56, their son
Dmitry and his wife, Tatiana, 32 and 28, and their children Revital, three, and
Natanel, three months old, shocked the country in October 2009. Initially, the
media was full of speculation that the Oshrenkos were killed by organized crime
figures due to some sort of outstanding debt, but police almost instantly set
their sights on Karlik as the chief suspect.
Karlik’s co-defendant, his
wife, Natalia, was charged alongside her husband in connection with the murders,
and was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment last November after being convicted
in a plea bargain of manslaughter, conspiracy to commit a crime and destroying
Karlik was a waiter at the Rishon Lezion restaurant Premier,
which the Oshrenkos ran in addition to an Irish Pub named Shannon’s, and a
delicatessen near the family home. Shortly before the murder Karlik was fired by
Dmitry for drinking on the job and for apparently stealing alcohol from the
restaurant. Karlik was reportedly fired in front of other employees and severely
humiliated, which prosecutors stated led him to plot his revenge.
and his wife plotted to rob the Oshrenko family, and as part of the plan,
Natalia, then working at the restaurant, made a copy of their apartment
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In the late-night hours on October 17, 2009, Karlik made his way to
the Oshrenko family home and let himself in, first stabbing Ludmilla to death in
her bed. Karlik then waited for Edward and Tatiana to arrive home from the
restaurant and killed them both after they walked in.
strangled baby Natanel as he awoke and began to cry, hurling the baby so hard
against the floor that his skull was fractured before stabbing him. Then, Karlik
stabbed Revital to death.
Finally, Karlik murdered Dmitry after he came
home shortly before dawn, stabbing him 38 times.
According to the
indictment, this is when Karlik began making mistakes. He tried to set the house
on fire, turning on the gas range and igniting the bed Ludmilla’s body was on.
However, he left the window’s closed and the fire quickly ran out of oxygen,
after the stove’s auto-shut off switch closed the gas. Karlik and Natalia then
fled to Taba, Egypt, to lay low for a few days, and investigators located their
car in Eilat. It was only a matter of days before police announced the arrest of
During the trial, presiding judges dismissed outright Karlik’s
claim that while he had been in the apartment before the murder, a man named
“Vlad” carried out the killings.
Lawyer Uri Keinan said the trial “has
been carried out over the course of two years and wasn’t easy on any of
Keinan said while he respected the judges’ decision, he will study
the verdict in full and decide whether or not to appeal the
Prosecutor Oded Keller said the Oshrenko massacre is a case
“that is exceptional in its severity and there are no words that can describe
the extent of the horror and cruelty embodied in this crime.” Keller said
investigators and the court “did serve justice here, but that can only bring
minor comfort to the family of the victims who are still here today.”
terms of the sentence he will seek for the crime, Keller said Karlik “was
convicted of murdering six innocent people who were massacred in the course of a
single night in their home, and we will seek the fitting punishment for each
The Oshrenkos life story read like a classic immigrants-done-
good tale that took a horrible turn for the worse.
The restaurants and
clubs opened by the family became central to the social life for immigrants from
the former Soviet Union and in the Soviet immigrant community. Their deaths were
met by a tremendous feeling of shock and sadness.
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