Killer of two Israelis sentenced to life

Benjamin Frandsen murdered Benjamin Wertzberger and Adar Ne'eman.

Ben wertzberger 298 88 (photo credit:
Ben wertzberger 298 88
(photo credit:
Three years and five months after he murdered two Israelis, Benjamin Frandsen was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole on Monday in Van Nuys by California Superior Court Judge Martin Herscovitz. Frandsen, 32, was convicted last November of murdering Benjamin Wertzberger and Adar Ne'eman, both 24 and long-time friends from Rishon Lezion, in a drug dispute. A co-defendant, Shane Huang, 32, is to be sentenced June 1. Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels did not seek the death penalty. Wertzberger, also known as Ben Berger, came to Los Angeles in 2001, telling his parents that he was pursuing a career as a disc jockey. According to the trial record, Wertzberger met Huang and stayed in his apartment rent-free in return for watching his indoor marijuana crop. In late 2002, Wertzberger sent for Ne'eman, suggesting that they could work together in Las Vegas nightclubs, and Ne'eman arrived in Los Angeles in November. At about the same time, Huang began to suspect that Wertzberger was "ripping off" his marijuana stash. The two Israelis were last seen alive on Dec. 2, 2002 and two days later their 1992 Chevrolet was discovered in Las Vegas, loaded with expensive sound equipment, the key still in the ignition. Las Vegas police concluded that the two Israelis had disappeared of their own volition and closed the case. However, after further investigation by the FBI and Israeli police representatives in New York, Huang and Frandsen were arrested in September 2003. Prosecutors said that the two defendants beat Wertzberger and Ne'eman to death in Huang's apartment over a period of two days and their bodies were found nine months later in a shallow grave near Barstow in the Mojave Desert, halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.