Man who killed infant son gets 6 years in jail

Yisrael Valis was earlier this year convicted of beating his three-month-old son to death.

Valis 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
Valis 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A 21-year-old man convicted of beating his three-month-old infant to death was sentenced on Tuesday to six years in jail and two years suspended by a Jerusalem court. Yisrael Valis was previously found guilty of manslaughter for repeatedly biting, beating, pinching and punching his son Refael because he "did not accept him" due to a congenital defect in the child's neck muscles. Valis was arrested two years ago after he admitted during police questioning to repeatedly beating his child. He later retracted his confession in a court hearing, saying it had been coerced by police. Jerusalem District Court Judge Hanna Ben-Ami noted in Tuesday's ruling that Valis has expressed no remorse for his actions whatsoever. "All he cares about is getting his life back together," she wrote. At the same time, the court found that Valis did not intend to kill his son, and that his actions stemmed from recklessness. As such, the court saw fit to exercise leniency despite the severity of the offense. "We have to consider that this is a young man, who has never before been given any responsibilities besides studying the Torah," the court said. The prosecution praised the sentence as befitting the crime, while the defense and Valis's family criticized it as overly harsh. Valis's attorney Mickey Hova said Tuesday he would appeal the "severe" sentence to the Supreme Court. The young father's 2006 arrest led to days of haredi rioting in Jerusalem, after leaders of the Edah Haredit community - which the Valis family is part of - accused police of concocting a "blood libel." The baby died in a Jerusalem hospital on April 10, 2006, a week after his father threw him against the wall when he started to cry. During his two-year trial, the Jerusalem District Court had released Valis to house arrest after probation officers determined he did not pose a danger to the public. Valis, who has been staying at his parents' home, has been allowed to spend nights at his own home with his wife. Former Jerusalem mayoral candidate MK Meir Porush of United Torah Judaism, who was acquainted with the family, had testified in court that Valis was a "good, quiet and disciplined" young man. The sentence will be delayed for 45 days to give the defense time to file an appeal. During this time, Valis will be placed under full house arrest, the court said.