Ronny Ron and Marie-Charlotte Pizem were sentenced to life in prison by the Petah Tikva District Court yesterday for their roles in the 2008 murder of four-year-old Rose Pizem. The girl was Ron's granddaughter and Marie Pizem's daughter.

Ron, who was found guilty of murder, has acknowledged striking the girl in a fit of rage, but denied any intention to kill her. Rose's mother was convicted of procuring her daughter's murder. The court rejected Ron's request for permission to present evidence of his training in martial arts. Ron contended that it would provide evidence that the blow that caused the girl's death was unintentionally lethal due to his training.

The court had previously said the couple's conduct after the girl was struck was inconsistent with an accidental act, citing the facts that Ron placed Rose's body in a suitcase and dumped it in the Yarkon River and that no medical care was sought for her. The court said yesterday that evidence of Ron's martial arts training would not have affected the life sentence they handed down.

Although Marie-Charlotte Pizem had been married to Ron's son, Benjamin Pizem (Rose's father ), she became Ron's domestic partner. Counsel for both Marie Pizem and Ron said yesterday they would appeal their clients' convictions to the Supreme Court.

When the court convicted the pair in May, the judicial panel - headed by Judge Avraham Tal - ruled that Ron had previously tried, at Marie Pizem's request, to have Rose removed from their household. When these efforts failed, the judges said, Ron reached "a decision to solve the 'Rose problem' once and for all and cause her death."

Tal ruled that the killing was not a spontaneous act, but was planned in advance, as evidenced by a finding that Ron obtained a large suitcase in which he placed Rose.The judge also rejected the claim of the girl's mother that she only learned about the plan to kill Rose after the fact.

Ron's lawyer, Benyamin Nahari, said he would argue on appeal to the Supreme Court that his client's crime was not the murder conviction for which he was found guilty. Marie Pizem's lawyer, Revital Swid, called her client's life sentence mistaken, saying there was no evidence that her client procured Rose's murder. Swid called her client a battered woman and characterized Ron as domineering.

Swid also said the Supreme Court had previously expressed concern over a mandatory sentence of life in prison for procuring a murder, calling on the legislature to change the law to give judges leeway in sentencing.

Swid acknowledged that Marie Pizem had not been a good mother, but said the court had confused a bad mother with one who sought her daughter's death.

In rejecting the relevance of Ron's martial arts training, prosecutor Anna Avidov said Ron's most recent explanation of what led to the girl's death was the latest of "20 to 30 different versions" that he had given of the incident. "We don't know how [Rose] was murdered, but the court ruled that she was murdered," Avidov said, adding: "Only two people know the truth, and they're Ronny Ron and Marie Pizem."