Man arrested for 2004 J’lem slaying

Undercover agent sheds light on seven-year-old case.

Mark Shapiro 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Mark Shapiro 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In a breakthrough for a seven-year-old murder case, Jerusalem Police officials on Tuesday announced the arrest of a 35-year-old man suspected of murdering an acquaintance during a mugging that turned violent.
On Monday, his remand was extended to Thursday, when police are expected to serve him with an indictment.
The victim, 49-year-old Shmuel Siman Tov, was found in a rooftop apartment in the Mea She’arim neighborhood on August 9, 2004, with dozens of stab wounds all over his body. Police and paramedics attempted to rush him to the hospital, but he died of his wounds in a matter of minutes.
Immediately following the murder, police opened an investigation and looked into the possibility that the incident was terror-related. The investigation did not produce any results, however, and the case remained a mystery.
A few months ago, police recruited an undercover agent in an effort to catch drug dealers in Jerusalem. The agent told his handlers that a few years ago, while he had been in prison, a friend had admitted to a murder during a “robbery that went wrong.”
Police immediately arrested the suspect, Mark Shapiro, on December 5. At first, Shapiro maintained his innocence, but during the investigation, he admitted to the murder and reenacted it for police.
Shapiro said that he had carried out the mugging because Siman Tov had had a large amount of money in his apartment. Siman Tov’s father, Baruch Siman Tov, said his son had just gone to the ATM and had approximately NIS 1,000.
“He was religious and a good man, he gave everything to everyone,” said the tearful father at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where he sat across from Shapiro.
Siman Tov said he had never lost faith that police would eventually find his son’s murderer, though it frustrated him that it had taken seven years.
When police told him that someone had been arrested in connection with the murder, “I felt like this had stopped weighing on my heart,” he said outside the courtroom.