Suspect: Police must find real hit-and-run driver

Court extends by 9 days the remand of Shushan Baraby, suspected of killing 3 women of same family in hit-and-run.

Shushan Baraby in court 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Shushan Baraby in court 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The day after he was caught in a massive police raid on a Netanya office building, hit-and-run suspect Shushan Baraby insisted he had nothing to do with the accident that killed three women from the same family last Friday.
“I trust that police will do their job and the driver will be found,” Baraby told reporters at the Petah Tikvah Magistrate’s Court, where Judge Einat Ron extended his remand by nine days Monday.
Appearing calm and collected after three days in which he was the subject of a nationwide media circus, Baraby denied that he was driving the Audi sedan when it plowed through a crosswalk, killing Svetlana Yigudiyev, 56, and her daughter Shoshana, 25, both from Dimona, and Svetlana’s cousin Alexandra Rubinov, 67, of Netanya.
When asked why he ran if he was not the driver, Baraby said: “They wanted to do me harm, when this happened they started looking for me for no reason. You in the media said the family [of the victims] wanted to hurt me because it was my car that was in the accident.”
He told reporters they could “look in my past to understand” why police arrested him, the implication being that he was targeted because of his extensive criminal record and his reputed underworld ties.
Baraby also said that he takes part in the sorrow of the victims’ family and hopes they endure no further pain.
Baraby’s lawyer David Iftach slammed the police investigation and told reporters they should not expect his client to snitch on whoever was driving the car.
“In his [Baraby’s] world, even when you say, ‘I’m not the driver,’ you also don’t say the second part of the sentence, ‘It was so and so’ – doing that would make you a maniac.”
During the remand hearing, Iftach drilled police about their case, eventually causing the police investigator to admit they have no video footage of the accident and no way of proving if the three victims were jaywalking when the accident occurred. Police would also not say if they have found any witnesses.
In any case, by Monday, three days after the accident, it is likely impossible for them to prove through bodily fluid tests if Baraby was intoxicated at the time of the crime.
Presumably, it will be difficult for police to find a witness willing to testify, as Baraby is well-known in Netanya, with a long criminal record and reputed underworld ties.
Police initially asked for a 14-day remand extension in order to build up evidence for an indictment, which Ron stated is longer than usual.
Ron said that she agreed with police that if released Baraby could try to disrupt the investigation against him, and called for a nine-day remand extension even though, in her words, “the investigation is a long way from being complete.”
The judge’s statement struck a different tone than one made by Sharon District Police Chief Ilan Mor, who said Monday that police had gathered an unprecedented amount of evidence against Baraby.
The charges Baraby faces include manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, obstruction of justice and possession of drugs.
Monday’s hearing came the day after around 50 undercover police and YASSAM special patrol officers surrounded an office building in the old Netanya industrial district after gathering intelligence that led them to the site.
After police forced their way into the building, Baraby tried to flee, but was caught almost immediately.
Police are currently investigating whether Baraby was planning to escape abroad, possibly through acquiring a fake passport.
Police also believe that he was helped by family and friends who brought him food and helped him hide during his time on the lam.
The suspect’s friends and family members came to the courtroom to show their support, including his elderly father – who at one point threatened to break a cameraman’s equipment, and said he would only talk for $1,000.
A female supporter of Baraby’s later threatened a photographer on the way out of the courtroom and attempted to slap him before she was restrained by police.