Hair found at scene of Tair Rada murder to be reexamined

A hair was recently found to match the DNA of Adir Habani, a past suspect in the murder of Tair Rada.

 Ilana Rada, mother of late Tair Rada seen at her home in Katzrin, northern Israel, August 26, 2021. (photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)
Ilana Rada, mother of late Tair Rada seen at her home in Katzrin, northern Israel, August 26, 2021.
(photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)

The Nazareth District Court ruled on Wednesday that the hairs found on Tair Rada's body will be re-examined, including a hair whose DNA may have matched Adir Habani, Ola Kravchenko's ex-partner. At the end of the investigation, the prosecution will consider the significance of the evidence as part of the handling of the case.

Adv. Yarom Halevi asked the court to re-examine the nine genetic tests regarding the hairs. He also expressed criticism that after the complete genomic sequencing of the reference samples was completed, expert witnesses would be brought in. The judges talked about hairs that, according to Dr. Nurit Bublil's report, the genetic sequencing tests on them should be continued - because this time they were able to produce mitochondrial DNA from 18 out of 56 hairs.

"The question at the end will be the question of prevalence."

Adv. Qablawi

Adv. Qablawi of the prosecution argued that the value of the evidence is limited. "The question at the end will be the question of prevalence," he explained regarding the DNA composition of the hypothesis. [Justice Asher] Kola expressed agreement with Qablawi's remarks: "It is not a tiebreaker, but it has some weight." Still, Kola seeks to have the summaries of the sides filed by the end of the month, although a full examination of the hairs will not be completed by then.

Habani, 38, is the man nicknamed A.H. in the case of the murder of Tair Rada. He previously lived in Katzrin, claiming that his ex-partner (A.K.) confessed to him that she murdered Rada and that she was wearing his pants that day. He currently lives in a moshav in the center of the country. Habani previously made claims against Kravchenko on the "Shadow of Truth" program, which dealt with the murder investigation, because she hinted to him about her intentions on the day of the murder, and later confessed to him that she had murdered the girl.

Testing hairs found at the crime scene

The tests were conducted at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir. In the current round, 18 hairs were tested which have not been tested before. In 17 of them, a match to the mitochondrial DNA of Tair Rada was found, and in one, a match to the DNA of Adir Habani.

Roman Zadorov seen at the District Court in Nazareth, after a court hearing in his re-trial on the murder of Tair Rada, on April 28, 2022. (credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)Roman Zadorov seen at the District Court in Nazareth, after a court hearing in his re-trial on the murder of Tair Rada, on April 28, 2022. (credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)

To date, no hairs with a mitochondrial profile that matches Roman Zadorov have been received and no hairs with a mitochondrial profile that matches Ola Kravchenko have been received. In the past, a match for Habani's mitochondrial DNA had been found in another hair found at the scene.

In hair without a root, it is not possible to perform a test of nuclear DNA, but rather a test of mitochondrial DNA. Contrary to the certainty of identification obtained from nuclear DNA, in the mitochondrial DNA test it is difficult to determine the degree of a match for a particular person and it can only be determined that there is some statistical probability. Because of the difficulty in finding a match the results of a mitochondrial DNA test are used in criminal proceedings mainly for the purpose of denying a connection and not for the purpose of determining identity.

The Tair Rada case

Tair Rada was murdered inside a toilet stall at Nofei Golan School in Katzrin on December 6, 2006. Almost three years later, the Nazareth District Court convicted Roman Zadorov, a foreign citizen and resident of Katzrin, of murdering the girl. The verdict set aside a dense fabric of evidence that led to his conviction.

Since then, however, the affair has continued to occupy the media and public opinion, and despite the firm verdict - the justice system has discussed it several more times and left the conviction intact. Zadorov, who worked in flooring at Rada's school, was arrested a few days after the murder, confessed to the murder and even reconstructed it. He then retracted his confession, and as the trial progressed the defense was able to raise doubts among the public that Zadorov was indeed the killer. Last summer, Chief Justice Meltzer ruled that a retrial should be held.