Man sentenced to 20 years in prison for murdering man who raped him twice

Man claims his Ethiopian background made it impossible for him to live while rapist still alive.

New Lod District Court 370 (photo credit: Yonah Jeremy Bob)
New Lod District Court 370
(photo credit: Yonah Jeremy Bob)
The Lod District Court on Sunday sentenced Yonatan Hiyalo to 20 years in prison for the murder of Yaron Ayalon, who Hiyalo claimed, and the prosecution did not deny, had raped him twice in the past.
Hiyalo, a 24-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli, has said Ayalon’s past raping of him plus a claim of self-defense should serve as a complete defense to the murder charge.
He had added that, after being raped, his Ethiopian background made it untenable for him to live while Ayalon was still alive.
Hiyalo also said that Ayalon had stolen money from him, physically abused him and used extortion against him.
Neither the prosecution nor the court accepted Hiyalo’s fundamental argument: that his being raped justified or at least excused the murder.
Both cited that several weeks, had passed between the rapes and the murder, such that the two could not be connected and that there was no viable self-defense claim.
Rather, the court said that despite Hiyalo’s lawyer’s protest that a young Ethiopian man of his background would never report being raped by another man to the authorities, Hiyalo’s recourse should have been to bring charges against Ayalon.
However, in light of that background and other factors, the 20-year prison sentence was a reduced sentence from the life imprisonment that Hiyalo could have faced.
Several character witnesses, Hiyalo’s sister and her husband, as well as a Chabad rabbi who observed him while under house arrest, all testified that he was a good, calm person who posed no danger to society.
The murder occurred in May 2010 with Hiyalo strangling Ayalon and then brutally breaking his head with a rock.
Hiyalo confessed to the crime and reenacted it for the police.