Man convicted of ’86 murder of his girlfriend

58-year-old escaped to Jordan after murdering Amira Jabris, extradited from US after serving 8 years for fraud.

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March 14, 2012 05:36
3 minute read.
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Over 26 years after police discovered Amira Jabris’s dead body in the Tel Aviv Diplomat Hotel, a man was convicted of her murder in the Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday.

Ali Kara’in, 58, escaped to Jordan immediately after the murder, and police believe he then passed through several countries using fake identities, eventually ending up in the US, where in 2002 he was arrested and sentenced to prison for fraud.

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Immediately after his release in 2010, Kara’in was extradited to Israel, where he was indicted for Jabris’s murder.

On Tuesday, the panel of judges – Nurit Ahituv, Miriam Diskin and Ra’anan Ben Yosef – ruled unanimously to convict Kara’in of Jabris’s murder.

According to the indictment, Kara’in murdered Jabris on January 1, 1986. Kara’in booked a double room in the Diplomat Hotel and spent the night with Jabris. What was supposed to be a romantic liaison turned violent, and at some point during the night, Kara’in strangled Jabris to death, then fled the scene, leaving her body on the hotel bed. The next morning, Kara’in escaped across the Jordanian border.

While Kara’in admitted to having a relationship with Jabris, he denied murdering her, and his defense team tried to prove that he had never planned her death.

In his version to the court, Kara’in said that some time before the day Jabris died, the pair had agreed to break up, even though he agreed to meet her in the hotel room. There, Kara’in said, Jabris told him she was pregnant and demanded he marry her. The two then had sex, in the middle of which Kara’in said Jabris jumped out of bed, shot at and attacked him. Kara’in claimed he then grabbed her neck for no more than a minute, threw her to the bed and then went to shower. When he came out of the bathroom, Kara’in claimed, he saw that Jabris was lying on the bed, dead.

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For a court to convict a defendant of murder, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant planned to kill his victim beforehand.

Kara’in’s defense attorney, Adnan Aladin, argued that under these circumstances, Kara’in must be acquitted, since with no evidence of pre-planning he could not be convicted of murder. As he was extradited from the US on a murder charge, legally he could not be convicted of the lesser crime of manslaughter. Kara’in’s defense argued that their client could not have murdered Jabris, as he only held her neck for less than a minute, and therefore her death must have been caused by another means. The defense postulated that Jabris may have suffocated after Kara’in let go of her, and that she was suffering from exhaustion, which hastened her death.

However, the court rejected this argument.

In addition to forensic evidence collected after the murder, the court also reviewed testimony from Jabris’s mother, Shula Hafetz, who said that Jabris had complained that Kara’in was jealous, occasionally violent, and refused to let her out in public or wear a bikini.

The court also accepted testimony from a forensic expert, who said that Jabris must have been suffocated until her death or until she passed out.

The court also noted that Kara’in had given different versions of events, which could not be blamed on memory loss as he recalled many details accurately.

“[Kara’in] left the room with the body long after he realized [Jabris] was dead,” Ahituv said. “He did not report the incident to anyone, and did not call for help as would be expected of someone who caused an accidental death.”

Following the conviction, state prosecutors asked the court to impose a life sentence on Kara’in, and order him to pay compensation to the victim’s family.

The court will convene to hear arguments for sentencing in April.

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