Maoz’s cellmate testifies in murder trial

Lawyers for man accused of murdering parents try to discredit witness by showing graphic videos found in witness’s phone.

Daniel Maoz takes witness stand 370 (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
Daniel Maoz takes witness stand 370
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
The dramatic double murder trial of Daniel Maoz, who is suspected of stabbing his parents to death in 2011 in their Ramot apartment, took a turn for the surreal on Wednesday when Maoz’s defense lawyers tried to discredit a witness by showing graphic videos and inappropriate songs found in the witness’s smartphone.
Roni Ben-Arbon, 38, is accused of aiding his former prison cellmate, Maoz, by sending a letter claiming that an additional anonymous witness saw Maoz’s brother, Nir, leave their parent’s house on the night of the murders.
The letter was sent July 10 to state prosecutor Yuval Kaplinsky, the Jerusalem District Court and Maoz’s defense lawyer, David Barhoom. In the letter – obtained by the media – the anonymous tipster writes that he heard screaming and then saw Nir Maoz run out of his parents’ home at 11 p.m.
“There is no way this could be wrong! It was definitely Nir Maoz,” the tipster wrote.
During the investigation, Ben-Arbon, who met Maoz in prison, admitted he helped send the letter. He told police Maoz had promised that, once he was released, he would reward Ben-Arbon financially. Ben- Arbon was serving time for traffic infractions, according to police.
But on Wednesday, Ben- Arbon said police officers threatened him during the investigation, and he gave them “the answers I thought they wanted to hear,” in order to get out of jail to see his six-year-old daughter. He insisted that he did not write the letter, although he did print it and mail it.
In an effort to discredit Ben-Arbon and prove that he wrote the letter individually without direction from Maoz, Barhoom showed a number of graphic videos taken from Ben-Arbon’s cell phone, causing the audience in the courtroom to shift uncomfortably and look away. In all of the drama surrounding the muchhyped trial, the video clips and inappropriate songs marked a new level of weirdness for the dozen reporters covering the trial.
Police have accused Maoz of stabbing his parents, Nurit and Noah Maoz, to death with a kitchen knife in their home on August 11, 2011 in an attempt to get an inheritance to pay off massive gambling debts.
He was arrested a month after the murders, but in a surprising move, he accused his twin brother, Nir, of carrying out the murders. The identical twins share DNA, which was found at the site of the murder.