A 17-year-old youth convicted of murdering Ma'ayan Ben-Horin in January 2007 was sentenced on Thursday morning to life in prison by the Haifa District Court. Ben-Horin's relatives, who were present in the courtroom, had no comment. Ben-Horin, a twelfth-grade student from the small northern community of Yuvalim, was found brutally murdered in early January in the hilly area near Yodefat two days after her family reported her missing. The police investigation revealed that the motive behind the attack was sexual. When Ben-Horin protested, the attacker hit her on the head repeatedly with a rock, and then dragged her body approximately 20 meters to a bush, where it lay concealed for the next two days. By the time her mother reported her missing, police said, the girl had been dead for approximately nine hours. In the days following his arrest, the teenage suspect reenacted the murder before police, and confessed to the attack, although he offered an alternate version of the events - that Ben-Horin had frightened his dog, and that an altercation led to the murder. Police dismissed the story as "not credible." The suspect also wrote letters to both the court and the Ben-Horin family in which he apologized for the murder.