Grandfather convicted of killing Rose Pizem, 4, in ’08

Central District Court convicts paternal grandfather, Ronnie Ron, of murdering child, her mother Marie-Charlotte Pizem, of inciting the murder.

Ronnie Ron,  Marie Pizem 311 (photo credit: Reuven Kastro)
Ronnie Ron, Marie Pizem 311
(photo credit: Reuven Kastro)
Three-and-a-half years after the body of four-year-old Rose Pizem was found in a suitcase at the bottom of the Yarkon River, the Central District Court on Thursday convicted her paternal grandfather, Ronnie Ron, of murdering the child and her mother, Marie- Charlotte Pizem, of inciting the murder.
The judges ruled that Ron’s decision kill to Rose was not a spontaneous decision and that he had done so after repeated requests by his daughter-in-law, who was also his lover.
RELATED:Ronnie Ron: I killed Rose in a second
The three-judge panel headed by Judge Avraham Tal decided to forgo reading out the 342-page verdict and directly delivered the guilty verdict. While Ron seemed unaffected by the decision, several minutes after the judges announced it, Pizem broke down sobbing and was escorted out of the courtroom.
In the written verdict, the judges had much to say about the mother’s tears: “The shock expressed by the accused, when the investigators told her that Rose was dead, indicates her manipulative nature and the fact that she didn’t hesitate to present a façade when it suited her purposes, spicing her words with crocodile tears.”
Rose Pizem went missing from Netanya in May 2008.
On July 23, both the Israeli and the French sides of her family asked authorities to check on her welfare.
At first her disappearance was treated as a missing child’s case, but suspicions soon fell on Ron, and then on Pizem as well.
Rose Pizem was the child of Marie-Charlotte and Ben Pizem. She was born in France in 2004 and lived there until the age of three. During a family visit in Israel, Marie-Charlotte fell in love with Ben’s father, Ronnie Ron, and told her husband she planned to stay in Israel with him, leaving Rose to Ben’s care. After Marie- Charlotte moved in with Ron and had two other daughters with him, she pleaded for him to bring over Rose, who was at the time in the care of the French welfare agencies.
Marie-Charlotte quickly regretted having brought her over. Rose spent most of her time in Israel with her greatgrandmother Vivian (Ron’s mother). It was only when Vivian demanded that Marie- Charlotte and Ron find a permanent arrangement for Rose that she moved back with her mother. It was not to last, however.
The judges on Thursday determined that Marie-Charlotte considered Rose a burden and was willing to do anything to get her out of her life.
After three years of court hearings, the judges verdict made it clear that they did not believe a single statement that the defendants uttered and while the precise process of the young girl’s death may never be fully known, the judges had no doubt that Ron had murdered her and that he had done so at Pizem’s urging.
“In light of the evidence, I reached the conclusion that though the accused [Ron] would abuse the accused [Pizem,] both verbally and physically, more often than they both confessed to. In the relationship as a whole, and especially when it came to Rose and their other daughters, it was the accused [Pizem] who dominated her will on Ron.
A hand-written letter that Pizem had written to Ron before the killing, which was presented as evidence by the prosecution indicates Pizem’s desires.
“Roni, I don’t know how to speak about this with you...It’s about Rose... It’s too difficult to me, She is killing my happiness, I am not good to her, I don’t want to see myself bad, that you see me bad, that the babies say I’m bad...
“I prefer to stop all of this!...that she go from my life. I know my words are strong and difficult...! What do you think about...? What we going to do? “I don’t want that she breaks our stability, our girls, our family.”
The judges determined that after all of Ron’s attempts to remove Rose from their house, as Pizem demanded, failed, he made the decision to solve the “Rose problem” permanently and cause her to die.
“The decision reached was not spontaneous, but rather planned as proven by the taking of the large suitcase in which Rose’s body was found [on September 11, 2008] and as proven by the dumping of her, whether alive or dead, into the waters of the Yarkon,” the verdict read.
The judges had no doubt that Pizem was behind the murder.
“It hasn’t been proven that Pizem took part in Rose’s killing, as an accomplice. However, it has been proven that she incited Ron to do so, with intention that she die,” they said.
“Watching the video depicting Pizem’s first police interrogation on the day of her arrest cannot leave the viewer indifferent, in light of the complete lack of natural maternal emotion of Pizem toward Rose. The accused described Rose in a humiliating, ugly, fashion; mimicking her and expressing feelings of hate and loathing towards her,” read the verdict. “She said that Rose was indeed her biological daughter, but that she wasn’t really her daughter, ‘not in her heart,’ that she felt nothing toward her and that as far as she was concerned she only had two daughters.
Every time it was suggested that something had happened to Rose, she either denied the possibility or ignored the question and only asked to see Ron, whom she loves, and her daughters who were crying down the hall.”
Attorney Anna Avidov of the Central District Prosecutor’s Office demanded that both Ron and Pizem be sentence to life imprisonment as required by law.
While Ron’s lawyer accepted the verdict, Pizem’s lawyer, Revital Sweid, said she planned to argue diminished responsibility, claiming that psychiatric evaluations indicated that her client was not fully liable for her actions.
Avidov rejected the argument, saying that it had not been argued at any time in the trial, but the judges agreed to hear it at a later date.
The judges scheduled a hearing to hear arguments for punishment on May 30.
Upon exiting the courtroom, Ron’s lawyer Gil Friedman, announced that he planned to appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court. “Clearly he must pay a heavy price, but he is not a murderer,” Friedman said. Throughout the investigations and trial, Ron confessed that he had killed Rose, but claimed that he had done so by accident.
“It’s hard to say that we were blown of our chairs by the ruling. As far as we are concerned, Ron is responsible. It hurt him that it was claimed that Pizem incited him to kill her,” Friedman said.
Sweid said the incitement to murder conviction was a surprise, but expressed hope that a psychiatric evaluation could reduce the sentence.
Avidov expressed satisfaction at the convictions but said she felt no joy.
“It is a tragic event when the court decides that a little girl, who lived a very short and miserable life, was brutally murdered by her grandfather, who was incited by her own mother,” Avidov said. “We were convinced all along that Marie Pizem had a part in this horrible crime. We didn’t know for sure if she took an active part or just incited Ronnie Ron, but the circumstantial evidence pointed to the fact that they were both involved. The mandatory punishment for incitement to murder is a life sentence, because our law sees incitement the ‘spiritual father’ of a crime.”