Psychiatric evaluation ordered for alleged Jerusalem landlord killer

Avi Dar, who allegedly stabbed his landlord Tzipora Nahamu to death, offers no motive and expresses no remorse.

stabbing 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
stabbing 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
With his handcuffs raised and a blue t-shirt pulled over his head, Avi Dar, who allegedly stabbed his landlord, Tzipora Nahamu, 59, to death in Jerusalem on Tuesday, was led Wednesday afternoon into the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, where his remand was extended for 10 days. Dar, who has offered no motive for the crime or expressed any remorse, was ordered by the court to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is fit to stand trial. During an impromptu press conference held after the hearing, Jerusalem Police investigator Ch.-Supt. Eli Cohen told reporters that Dar had begun cooperating with officers, and had agreed to return to the scene of the crime Tuesday night to reenact the murder for investigators. Upon arriving at the apartment in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, however, Dar told investigators he was too tired to continue and began threatening and cursing neighbors in the complex as he was led away by police, Cohen said. Cohen also responded to questions surrounding the numerous incidents Dar had allegedly been involved in prior to the murder, including complaints filed by neighbors in the building, who said that Dar had thrown bottles and bricks at them, threatened their children and slashed the tires of their vehicles in the parking lot. Neighbors and friends of Nahamu, who was a lawyer, said on Tuesday that police should have been able to prevent her murder because, as one neighbor put it, "the writing was on the wall," with regard to Dar's violent nature. Cohen, however, rejected those claims, telling reporters, "The complaints that were lodged against the suspect in the past were considered light acts of violence and were taken in the context of arguments between neighbors. We receive thousands of complaints like that, and they couldn't have led us to expect that he was going to do something like this." Cohen did say that there had been four separate complaints filed against Dar in Jerusalem, as well as a number of additional complaints outside of the capital in recent years. Cohen also said that Dar had been called in for questioning by investigators "a few weeks ago" in relation to yet another spat with neighbors at the apartment complex, and that Dar had himself filed a complaint against some neighbors just days before the murder. Police were called to the apartment on Rehov Meir Feinstein around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, after neighbors reported hearing screams coming from inside. Police found the door barricaded, and had firefighters break it down to discover Nahamu, who owned the apartment and rented it to Dar, with multiple stab wounds to the chest. A Magen David Adom intensive care unit made several failed attempts to resuscitate her, and then pronounced her dead at the scene. Dar, who police found in another room of the apartment holding a knife, was arrested without further incident. On Wednesday, police confirmed reports that Nahamu had been planning to evict Dar from the apartment and had come there to show potential new tenants around. Yossi Keter, one of those potential tenants, told Army Radio on Wednesday that when the attacker brandished the knife, Nahamu said that she would agree to sign anything he wanted concerning his tenancy. "I saw her on the floor," said Keter. "He said, 'Get out of here, or I'll kill you as well.'" Nahamu's partner, Micha Horowitz, expressed his profound shock at the murder of "such a good and righteous" woman in an interview with the radio station on Wednesday morning, but at the same time, repeated the sentiment of Nahamu's neighbors, that "the writing was on the wall." "She had rented the apartment to a man who is a bit crazy, not completely sane, and she was already in the process of evicting him and bringing in other tenants," he said. "But everyone knew he was insane, his father knew he was insane, and still, the police did nothing. "However," Horowitz added, "he had agreed to leave…we're all in shock." On a sadly ironic note, Horowitz said that on the day of the murder, he and Nahamu had discussed Friday's deadly beach beating in Tel Aviv, and that Nahamu had said, "How did we come to this, how can such a thing happen?" Nevertheless, Horowitz stressed that this case was different, "because [Dar] is insane." Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.