Police arrest 2 suspects in Petah Tikva decapitation murder case

Murder suspects allegedly alerted police to presence of torso in a failed attempt to evade suspicions.

dumpsters 248 88  (photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
dumpsters 248 88
(photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
Police have arrested two suspects in the shocking murder and decapitation of Valery Gittleman, 34, whose remains were found on Sunday at two locations in Petah Tikva, and lifted a media ban on most of the details of the case. Gittleman's head was found in a garbage bin by a cleaning woman, while his headless torso was found in his nearby apartment. It was the murder suspects who alerted police to the presence of the torso, police said, in a failed attempt to evade suspicion. The suspects have been named as Kiril Shaikrezeiv, 26, a recently married Russian-Israeli who made aliya in 2000 and who knew the victim for eight years; and Irna Ashkenazi, 50, a hairdresser from Petah Tikva, who was the victim's former girlfriend and flatmate. Ch.-Supt. Micha Levine, chief murder investigator for the Central District's Central Unit, told The Jerusalem Post that Shaikrezeiv had used a gun, knife and ax to murder and decapitate his victim, and had choked him as well. He described how officers investigating the murder had encountered a blood-soaked apartment. "We've seen a lot of murders, but this was the most shocking case we've seen in many years," he said. According to Levine, the two suspects originally claimed they had been picking up items from Gittleman's apartment when they encountered his body. Police soon became suspicious of this account, Levine said, adding, "We realized Shaikrezeiv's account was inconsistent, and there were many links tying the suspect to the murder." The two suspects were arrested on Thursday night, and Shaikrezeiv confessed to killing Gittleman after several hours of interrogation. Shaikrezeiv told police the victim had threatened to harm him and his family if he did not give him money - a story police seriously doubt, Levine said. "Either way, it makes no difference to the appalling act," he said, adding, "I believe he [Shaikrezeiv] is a very calculated man. He murdered the victim in cold blood and expressed no regret. He compared his act to the actions of a soldier on the battlefield, in an effort to legitimize the killing. Despite fairly sophisticated efforts to evade justice, he was apprehended. This was a very shocking murder." Levine said Ashkenazi was suspected of involvement in the murder. He added that police planned to complete lines of inquiry on the matter. Ashkenazi and the murder victim broke up several months ago after a fight. She has denied involvement in the murder. Shaikrezeiv's remand was extended by 11 days at the Ramle Magistrate's Court, while Ashkenazi's remand was extended by two days. Police expect to formally charge Shaikrezeiv with murder in the next few days. Gittleman, who was divorced with a child, made aliya from Russia in 1993. His ex-wife and son live abroad. He held down a number of jobs, but was unemployed in recent weeks.