Understanding Eliran Malul’s aggravated murder charge - explainer

While murder itself is a heinous crime that usually leads to a life sentence, aggravated murder indicates that the murderer went beyond the cruelty and brutality of your “standard” murder.

Judge's gavel, illustrative (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Judge's gavel, illustrative
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Part of the conviction of Eliran Malul on Wednesday in the murder of his wife, Michal Sela, was an aggravated murder charge.

While murder itself is a heinous crime that usually leads to a life sentence, aggravated murder indicates that the murderer went beyond the cruelty and brutality of your “standard” murder.

For example, murder can be accomplished by one killing blow from a weapon.

The conviction stated that Malul stabbed Selah dozens of times throughout her body.

This means that Malul was not merely trying to murder Selah, but essentially to dismember or mutilate her body.

Michal Sela, who was stabbed to death in October 2019. (credit: Courtesy)Michal Sela, who was stabbed to death in October 2019. (credit: Courtesy)

In addition, the verdict said that the baby they had together was present during the murder.

Further, the verdict said that Malul remained with Selah’s dead body for 17 hours along with the baby before leaving the scene – seeming to revel in the murder and extending the time it took for her body to be discovered.

An aggravated murder conviction is relevant both at the additional sentencing hearing and decades down the road.

If in some murder cases, a court might opt for a sentence of decades, but not a life sentence, an aggravated murder conviction mostly takes that off the table.

Similarly, if even some convicts who are given a life sentence are freed after 25 or 35 years in prison for good behavior, an aggravated murder sentence likely also takes that off the table or makes it much more unlikely.