Court gavel justice judge legal law 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
In an unusual ruling on Monday, the Tel Aviv District Court convicted a
29-year-old Tel Aviv resident of aiding and abetting the 2008 murder of yeshiva
student Avi Ohayon, even though Ohayon’s body has never been found.
Monday’s ruling, which took place at a closed court session, judges Daphna
Avnieli, Sarah Dotan and Shaul Shohet convicted Menahem “Manny” Amiel under a
plea bargain that his defense team struck with state
According to the terms of the plea bargain, the prosecution
agreed to drop the original charge of murder in return for Amiel’s admitting the
lesser charge of aiding and abetting the murder.
The prosecution asked
the court to impose a 14-year prison sentence on Amiel. However, he will
not be sentenced until early 2012.
Ohayon, an Ofakim resident, was
reported missing in 2008. It was not until several months after his
disappearance that police began to suspect that he had been
murdered. Police began to investigate Amiel when they uncovered evidence
that he and Ohayon had been embroiled in a financial dispute.
2008, when police began investigating him, Amiel fled to the US. However,
in July 2010, the US authorities deported him back to Israel, where police
immediately arrested him and remanded him in custody. A month later, the
State Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against him, charging him with
Ohayon’s murder – even though police had not managed to locate the victim’s
After filing the indictment, the prosecutors announced that the
evidential basis for the indictment was a “chain of circumstantial evidence”
around the case that led them to conclude that Amiel had willfully caused
According to that original indictment, on September 24,
Amiel allegedly met Ohayon somewhere in Tel Aviv, killed him there and then
buried his body in an unknown location. For 10 days afterward, Amiel allegedly
used the victim’s credit card to buy goods worth over NIS 50,000.
the lack of a body, the prosecution said that all the evidence it had uncovered
led it to conclude that Ohayon must have been killed. Witnesses last saw him on
September 24, 2008, and after his disappearance, his family testified to police
that up until that date, he had always been in daily contact with them and had
not told any of his close relatives or contacts that he intended to run
The police investigation also revealed that Ohayon had led a double
life – studying in yeshiva, but also running an escort service and credit
Under the terms of the plea bargain, the indictment was
amended to charge Amiel with assisting in Ohayon’s murder.
Monday’s hearing, prosecuting attorney Oshra Gez-Eisenstein asked the panel of
judges to impose a 14-year prison sentence on Amiel, as well as a compensation
payment. The prosecution also asked that the court confiscate his driver’s
license in connection with a separate criminal conviction of hitand- run
However, the prosecution asked the court to delay the
sentencing, because although prosecutors had informed Ohayon’s family about the
plea bargain, his parents still hoped their son was alive.
In order to
give the family time to come to terms with Amiel’s admitting to aiding and
abetting Ohayon’s death, Dotan ruled that the court would hold the next stage of
the trial, the sentencing arguments hearing, on February 6, 2012.