Mother, grandfather get life for murder of Rose Pizem

Murdered 4-year-old's killers given life in jail for murder, incitement to murder; lawyer says they'll appeal decision to Supreme Court.

Ronnie Ron,  Marie Pizem 311 (photo credit: Reuven Kastro)
Ronnie Ron, Marie Pizem 311
(photo credit: Reuven Kastro)
Ronnie Ron and Marie Pizem were sentenced on Monday to life sentences for the murder, and incitement to murder, of four-year old Rose Pizem.
The Central District Court convicted the two – the child’s mother and paternal grandfather – last month. Their lawyer said they would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
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In their decision, the judges rejected a last-minute plea by Ron’s lawyer Benny Nahari, stating that Rose was killed as a result of a blow to the head administered to her by Ron, who is a martial arts expert.
The judges wrote that they had deliberated Ron’s testimony about the blow to the head in their initial verdict, and ruled it out as a cause of death.
The judges noted that even if they accepted his argument, the fact that Ron was capable of killing Rose only strengthened his guilt, as he would have known that his actions could lead to her death.
Ron is accused of placing Rose Pizem’s body in a suitcase after killing her and dumping it in the Yarkon River.
“To this day the court doesn’t know what caused Rose’s death. If indeed Ron killed her with a blow to the head, the offense would shift from premeditated murder to a lesser manslaughter offense, and the sentence will be lesser accordingly,” said Nahari.
Marie Pizem was acquitted of murder, the judges determining that she was not directly involved in her daughter’s killing, but convicted her of inciting Ron to kill her, an offense that carries a mandatory life sentence.
The judges rejected her lawyer’s claim that she was mentally unfit. Pizem’s lawyer, Revital Sweid, said she would challenge the court’s decision to sentence her to life in prison in the Supreme Court.
Both Ron and Pizem declined to make a last-minute statement to the court before hearing the sentence, and neither showed any emotion upon hearing the judges decision.
The tragic case of Rose Pizem first came to light in September 2008. At first her disappearance was treated as a missing child’s case, but shortly afterwards suspicions fell on Ron, and throughout the course of the investigation, on Pizem as well.
Rose Pizem was the child of Marie 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 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 Pizem’s care.
After Marie moved in with Ron and had two other daughters with him, she pleaded of him to bring over Rose, who was at the time in the care of the French welfare agencies.
Rose’s arrival, however, brought no joy to Marie and she quickly regretted having brought her.
Rose spent most of her time in Israel with her great-grandmother Vivian [Ron’s mother].
It was only when Vivian demanded that Marie and Ron find a permanent arrangement for Rose that she moved back with her mother. It was not to last however. The judges determined that Marie 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 nature of the young girl’s death may never be fully known, the judges had no doubt that Ron had murdered her, and did so at Pizem’s urging.
“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 towards 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 towards 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.”