Itai Ben Dror was convicted in a Petach Tikvah courtroom on Sunday of murdering his three young children. Ben Dror was convicted on the basis of his prior confession, though the court proceedings did not include witness testimony.
Ben Dror killed his three children, aged 10, 8, and 5 a year ago in their apartment in Netanya. The children were living with their mother at the time, but had come to visit their father at his home.
Ben Dror's defense lawyer Ran Alon said in court today that it had been his client's original intention to commit suicide, and that was the reason that he had acquired knives and pills, but that a week before the murder he decide to take his children's lives as well, in his words, "to save them from the banality of life and allow them to live forever".
Ben Dror also said that he did not murder his children in order to take revenge upon his ex-wife, and only murdered them on her birthday by chance. Alon intends to claim that Ben Dror deserves a reduced sentence because he suffers from psychiatric problems. The court decided to send Ben Dror for a psychiatric evaluation.
The prosecution is objecting to the request for a reduced sentence and is demanding that Ben Dror be sentenced to three life sentences. Prosecutor Ronit Poznansky told the court that she has a report prepared by a clinical psychologist, which contends that the murders were not committed due to psychiatric illness.
The mother of the children and Ben Dror's ex-wife, Lilach Shem-Tov, said upon the announcement of the conviction. "It's hard. He is the children's father, but he eventually confessed – something we've waited for a whole year."
"There won't be any relief for me until I know the conditions of his punishment and if there will be a reduced punishment," Shem-Tov said. "There is some measure of relief in that he admitted to three counts of premeditated murder."
Responding to the defense claims that Ben Dror intended to commit suicide, Shem-Tov said, "You don't need so many knives in order to commit suicide, and not on my birthday. I know that he did it all in order to cause me great pain and sorrow. I won't rest or relax until I get what I want – three life sentences."
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