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Three Haifa men were convicted yesterday morning of kidnapping and murdering a Kiryat Ata man in January 2005 in order to rob the grocery store where he worked.

The three men kidnapped Isaschar Itzkovitz, took the keys to the grocery store he managed, and later beat him to death.

The Haifa District Court convicted Yroslav Byorsky, 29, Anton Oliyinkov, 36, and Jan Chekov, 28, of planning to kidnap and rob Itzkovitz. A fourth defendant was cleared of murder, but convicted of attempted robbery and kidnapping.

The group, including the fourth defendant, teamed up in order to follow, kidnap and beat the victim.

After the kidnapping, two of the men broke into the grocery store in Haifa's Kiryat Eliezer neighborhood and tried to break into the safe. Meanwhile, the other two men beat Itzkovitz, choked him and hit him in the head with blunt objects.

The the three-judge panel unanimously convicted the three of murder while committing other crimes.