Prosecutors want 6 life sentences for Oshrenko massacre

Damian Karlik convicted of murdering six in Rishon Lezion.

Dimitry Kirilik 311 (photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
Dimitry Kirilik 311
(photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
Damian Karlik, the man convicted of murdering six members of the Oshrenko family, insisted on standing up and addressing the Central District Court on Thursday, as state prosecutors asked judges to hand down six consecutive life sentences, the maximum punishment possible under the law.
Speaking in Russian, Karlik told the court he wanted to “express his condolences” to the Oshrenko family.
“I read the protocols from the last court hearing and I understand that I’ve been convicted of these terrible crimes,” Karlik said. “But I never killed. I don’t deny being present at the events, but I did not kill.”
The 39-year-old was convicted of the October 2009 murders of Ludmilla and Edward Oshrenko, both 56, their son Dmitry and his wife Tatiana, 32 and 28, and their children Revital, three, and Nataniel, three months.
In Thursday’s hearing, shackled and surrounded by Prisons Service guards, Karlik watched intently from the dock as attorney Oded Keller, prosecuting, said that the murders were “the most severe and difficult case ever filed in Israel.”
While state prosecutors in criminal trials usually present examples from past cases to support their request for a particular sentence, Keller told the judges that he could not do so because there were simply no similar cases in Israeli legal history.
“This is a case where an entire family of six people were murdered in the space of a single night, in their apartment home, in a gruesome and cruel manner,” Keller said.
Keller told the judges – Avraham Tal, Ruth Lorch and Tsvi Dotan – that relatives of the murdered Oshrenko family were too grief-stricken to attend the court hearing and address the court. However, attorney Lior Sheni of the Noga Legal Center for Victims of Crime was present in court on their behalf.
In asking for six life sentences, one for each of the murdered Oshrenkos, Keller said that this punishment would reflect the “sanctity of human life.” Keller also asked the court to impose additional penalties for the other offenses Karlik was convicted of committing – arson, robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime.
The prosecution asked the court to order Karlik to pay compensation for the Oshrenkos’ close relatives – Jana Oshrenko, the daughter of Ludmila and Edward Oshrenko and brother of Dmitri Oshrenko; members of the Epstein family and Tatiana Oshrenko’s father and brother.
To pay the compensation, Keller asked the court to forfeit a sum of NIS 16,646 that was confiscated after the state sold Karlik’s car.
Karlik’s defense attorney, Uri Keynan, asked the court to refrain from imposing additional penalties on top of those for the murder charges, on the grounds that the arson, robbery and conspiracy charges were “an integral part of the events” of the murders.
Keynan also told the court that Karlik has been held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day ever since his arrest, adding that the state had requested these conditions.
“This is not an ordinary prison sentence, it is the maximum security level, and the court should know that,” Keynan said.
As Prisons Service guards led him away, Karlik spoke again to his lawyer, and said he wanted to appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court.
During his trial Karlik had claimed that another man committed the murders, after forcing him to be present in the Oshrenkos’ apartment during the killings.
Karlik’s wife, Natalia, who was charged alongside her husband in connection with the murders, was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment last November after being convicted in a plea bargain of manslaughter, conspiracy to commit a crime and destroying evidence.
According to the indictment, the motive for the massacre had been Karlik’s hatred of the Oshrenkos, after they fired him as a waiter from their Rishon Lezion familyowned restaurant, the Premier, in 2008.
Karlik’s wife, Natalia, began working at the restaurant soon afterwards, and the couple began to plot revenge, at first deciding to rob the restaurant.
To carry out the robbery, Natalia Karlik stole the Oshrenkos’ keys and copied them.
However, the robbery plans resulted in a bloody massacre.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on October 17, 2009, Karlik went to the Oshrenkos’ apartment.
First, he woke 56-year-old Ludmila, the family’s grandmother, stabbing her in the stomach as she cried for help.
After the first murder, Natalia Karlik telephoned her husband and told her the rest of the Oshrenkos were on their way home. Damian Karlik brutally stabbed Ludmila’s husband Edward and then Tatiana as they arrived at their apartment.
Tatiana’s three-month-old baby Nataniel woke up then, and began to cry. Karlik strangled the baby, then picked him up and threw him so hard against the floor that his skull was fractured. Karlik then stabbed the baby to death.
After murdering Nataniel, Karlik stabbed the child’s sister, Revital.
The last member of the family to die was Dmitry. Karlik lay in wait for him, and when he came home, at 6 a.m., he unleashed a frenzied knife attack against his former employer, stabbing him at least 38 times. Karlik then tried to set fire to the apartment to hide the evidence.
After the murders, Karlik and his wife fled to Taba in Egypt.
When the bodies were found, police initially suspected that the Oshrenkos had been murdered in a mafia hit, but suspicion soon fell on Karlik, and investigators discovered his car in Eilat shortly after.
The Central District Court will pass sentence on Karlik on December 27 at 1 p.m.