Court: Anat Elimelech was the victim in 1997 murder-suicide

Former boyfriend David Afuta killed model, then shot himself; his brother tampered with evidence; Afuta heirs to compensate family.

ANAT ELIMELECH and her boyfriend David Afuta 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
ANAT ELIMELECH and her boyfriend David Afuta 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Thirteen years after their deaths shocked the country, the Jerusalem Family Court determined on Tuesday that it was David Afuta who shot his exgirlfriend, fashion model Anat Elimelech, and then committed suicide, and that Afuta’s brother had tampered with the evidence to make it look like the opposite had occurred.
Judge Menachem Hacohen ruled that Afuta’s heirs owed Elimelech’s family compensation, for their loss and subsequent expenses, but the exact amount of compensation has yet to be determined.
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Elimelech’s family in 2005 sued Afuta’s estate for NIS 9.25 million.
The affair began December 2, 1997, when the two were found dead in their Jerusalem apartment. Police found Afuta, 32, on the living room floor with two bullet wounds in his chest. Elimelech, 23, also had a gunshot wound in her chest, and the gun was found close to her body.
Early on the police suspected that Elimelech was the one who had done the shooting, but three weeks into the investigation, they determined that Afuta was the gunman and that someone else had moved the murder weapon.
The judge ruled that shooting-trajectory analyses, and forensic and fingerprint tests confirmed that Afuta fired all three shots – one to Elimelech’s chest, which killed her, one that caused a nonlethal wound to his shoulder, and then the fatal shot to his chest.
The motive for the shooting was determined to be anger and depression at being dumped by Elimelech two months prior to the incident.
An investigation into the identity of the person who tampered with the crime scene, removing the gun from Afuta’s hand, wiping it off to remove fingerprints and placing it next to Elimelech, was closed in 1999, despite the fact that police claimed they had solid evidence implicating Afuta’s brothers, who had entered the apartment before the police.

In 2005 Elimelech’s family sued the Afuta estate for compensation and requested that the court determine who had done the shooting.
In his ruling the judge decided that Afuta was indeed the killer and that his brother Yosef had moved the gun to protect his brother’s reputation.
The sides were given 30 days in which to complete their compensation claims before issuing a final verdict.
Elimelech’s father told reporters that he was grateful to the judge for taking on the complex case and that he was relieved that the truth had finally come to light.