Supreme Court finally convicts duo killers of Ashkelon girl

Shaked Shalhov, 16, died in a hail of bullets during botched mob hit in Ashkelon in 2003.

December 2, 2010 20:28
2 minute read.
Shaked Shalhov murdered in 2003.

Shaked Shalhov 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The parents of Shaked Shalhov had to wait seven years before the suspects who were accused of killing the 16-year-old were convicted in an appeal hearing in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Shalhov was killed in Ashkelon on the night of July 20, 2003, when the car she was riding in was sprayed with machine gun bullets.

Suspected killers of teen acquitted

The suspects in her death, Meir Zano and Yisrael Ganon, were tried in Beersheba District Court and acquitted on April 30, 2009, after a trial that was prolonged because of a case law precedent for several years.

The prosecution appealed the acquittal to the Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court ruling. The panel of justices who made the decision consisted of presiding justice Edmond Levi and justices Salim Joubran and Isaac Amit.

After the court announced the verdict, Shalhov’s mother, Ilana, told reporters, “I was on the edge of a breakdown. We have endured seven years of ongoing torment by the judicial system, but today, finally, the court has made a brave decision. This is the country I would wish to live in, even though my daughter was killed here. Today’s decision is a small bit of justice and it is consoling. Now we can mourn Shaked without other things getting in the way and to think only of her.”

The case became famous several years ago because it helped overturn a case law precedent which had been in effect for many years. According to the precedent, known as the Kinsey ruling, a person who was on trial in a separate judicial proceeding could not testify in another trial until his own trial was concluded. This was because he might give false testimony if he thought it would help him in his own trial.

The state’s key witness in the investigation of Zano and Ganon was another underworld figure, Yoram Sankar. Sankar was standing trial on other charges unrelated to the killing of Shalhov. However, he knew about the incident and had been involved in an assassination attempt with Zano and Ganon a few weeks earlier. In both cases, the intended victim of the assassination attempt was the head of rival Ashkelon gang, Shalom Domrani.

Because of his own trial, Sankar could not testify against Zano and Ganon. The state was forced to petition the High Court of Justice against the Kinsey rule. It won the case and Sankar was allowed to testify against Zano and Ganon. However, he refused to do so in court, as a result of which the suspects were acquitted.

The Supreme Court, however, found that there was sufficient evidence to convict the two and reversed the lower court decision. Zano and Ganon, who were already released from jail, will now return to prison.

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