Hagai Felician 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Bar Noar double murder suspect Hagai Felician released after collapse of state case Hagai Felician, the Pardes Katz man in jail since June as the chief suspect in the Bar Noar double murder, was released to house arrest on Wednesday following the total collapse of the case against him.
Hagai's release comes a week after the state witness in the case against him was arrested on suspicion of fabricating evidence and obstruction of justice. Police made the decision to arrest the witness, “Z”, after they realized last week that he had lied to his handlers while he was working to build the case against Felician, and altered records of correspondence between he and the suspect.
On Tuesday, detectives held a confrontation between Felician and Z. On Tuesday morning Z was in a Tel Aviv court for his second remand extension, where he was ordered held for another week. Police are expected to bring other friends and acquaintances of Z in for questioning in the near future.
On Wednesday, Z's lawyer Yair Regev siad that he “hopes now police will focus on taking the investigation forward and solving this terrible murder.”
In regards to his client he said “he didn't act alone, he was working together with the investigators, who have no one to criticize but themselves.”
The arrest of Z dealt a crippling blow to the Bar Noar case, which until it was solved had been at the top of police priorities, the subject of countless man hours for Tel Aviv investigators. The case had been built around the testimony of Z, a childhood friend of Felician and a close relative of one of the two suspects arrested along with him in June. The case broke when months earlier Z contacted police from prison, saying he knew who carried out te Bar Noar killing in August 2009.
Police signed a deal with Z, making him a state witness and went to work having him build a case based on wiretaps, text messages and other interaction between him and other suspects. The evidence against Felician does not include fingerprints, DNA, or an eyeball witness and there is no way to connect him to the pistol used in th shooting at the Tel Aviv LGBT center in August 2009.
After the arrests in June, Z proved himself a problematic witness. He almost instantly violated an agreement not to speak to the press and fled his safe house in Tel Aviv for the north, leading police on a cross-country search over a weekend in June.
Since his arrest earlier this month, the state has ordered Z to remain in the witness protection program without any access to telephones, television, or internet in his safe house.
Felician's attorneys Mohse Yochai, Yogev Narkiss, and Oron Schwartz said Wednesday “the justice system won. An innocent man, not a murder suspect, was released to his home today.”
They added “Police decided to pursue an indictment against an innocent man. They bled him out in the town square.”
Felician will remain on house arrest until April 2nd. He is banned from leaving the country but will be allowed to leave his house to visit the grave of his brother 15-year-old brother Orr, who died in a fall from a construction site in July. Hagai was not allowed to leave jail to attend the funeral.