Itai Ben Dror
Suspected killer Itai Ben Dror outside court, July 25, 2010. Photo by Ilan Asayag
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The Petah Tikva District Court on Monday indicted Itai Ben Dror, suspected of killing his three children in Netanya last month, on three charges of murder in the first degree.

Ben Dror, 38, allegedly murdered Or, 5, Roni, 8, and Omer, 10, as an act of vengeance against his ex-wife.

According to the indictment, Ben Dror decided in early July to murder his children during the weekend they had planned to spend at his house as part of the shared custody agreement with his former spouse.

Ben Dror allegedly plotted the murder meticulously over several weeks, and planned it for the day of his ex-wife's birthday.

After Ben Dror entered the courtroom for his hearing and sat down with his head covered, his ex-wife Lilach yelled at him: "Why are you hiding your head? Murderer!" She used her cellular telephone to play back an audio clip of their children singing, and shouted, "Listen, you murderer! Devil! These are your children!" Ben Dror did not respond.

The court decided to send Ben Dror for psychiatric evaluation. His attorney, public defender Ran Alon, said after the hearing that Ben Dror responded with horror to the text of the indictment. According to Alon, "There are whole chunks of time from the events described in the indictment that he has no recollection of. The amount of stab wounds, for example. There are parts for which he has total amnesia. He says he heard voices telling him what to buy, what to do."

At that point, a relative of the children's mother interrupted Ben Dror and asked him, "Do you really believe what you are saying? At the very least, maintain some semblance of respect for the children and Lilach, and say what you really believe."

Alon refused to get into an argument with the man, and later added, "I asked the court to send him for psychiatric evaluation, the court acceded to the request, with the agreement of the prosecution. In my opinion, it should have long since happened. To my regret, it didn't happen because the police dragged its heels and objected for reasons nobody can understand."

When asked how he could claim insanity in view of the premeditated planning of the killings, the attorney responded, "Many times, acts such as these are pre-planned as a result of a mental illness. A man can be mentally deranged and it doesn't detract from his ability to execute a plan."

The indictment describes in detail the steps Ben Dror took before the alleged murders, which included purchasing a knife with an 18 cm blade and a butcher's knife with a 13 cm blade specifically to commit the alleged murders. He also allegedly bought scotch tape in order to cover their mouths, and stocked up on anti-anxiety pills and alcohol in order to commit suicide after the murders were committed.

The indictment states that Ben Dror even allegedly prepared a suitcase with clothes and NIS 1,500 in the event his suicide attempt fails, and wrote a detailed note requesting the bag be brought to him in the event he ends up in the hospital.

Ben Dror also allegedly wrote suicide notes dated July 21, three days ahead of the alleged July 24 murders.

On the day of the alleged murders, Ben Dror took his three children out for a day of fun at the circus and a restaurant before taking them home and placing sleeping pills in their drinks, according to the indictment.

Once the children had fallen asleep, Ben Dror allegedly checked on the Internet to find the location of the major arteries in the body, drank two beers and entered the room where his two sons, Or and Omer were sleeping.

Ben Dror then allegedly placed a towel over Or's face and stabbed him 29 times. Or apparently struggled with his father and Ben Dror was cut as a result. He then allegedly continued to murder the two other children, Omer and then Roni, before laying their bodies next to each other in his bedroom and covering them up with a sheet.

Ben Dror was placed in solitary confinement after his arrest the following day, under close supervision by prison service officials. He was found fit to stand trial after close psychiatric evaluation.

Ben Dror said during court hearing two weeks ago that he killed his children to give them relief from their mother and that they are waiting for him in heaven. He said that he heard voices that told him to commit the murders.

Ben Dror said that after killing his children, he drank a glass of whiskey and took some pills, hoping to die.