Tair Rada
Tair Rada. Photo by Reproduction
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Nearly four years after the murder of teenager Tair Rada in the Golan Heights town of Katzrin, the verdict in the trial of Roman Zadorov for the girl's murder in December 2006 will be announced today in Nazareth District Court. Rada was an eighth grade student at the Nofei Golan school in the town at the time of her death. Her body was found in a restroom stall in the school with knife wounds.

Zadorov, a 32-year-old Katzrin resident who on the day of the murder was doing flooring work at the school, was questioned about the case four days later and subsequently arrested. In custody, he admitted to an informant who was a cellmate that he killed the girl, and then reenacted the crime for officials. A day later, however, he retracted the confession.

In January 2007, he was indicted for Rada's murder and obstruction of justice on allegations that he stabbed the girl and slit her throat. His trial began three and a half years ago. The girl's parents, Ilana and Shmuel Rada, were present at all the dozens of sessions of the trial. During the course of the trial, the girl's mother raised doubts about Zadorov's guilt while Shmuel Rada said he was convinced that the accused was guilty.

No motive for the murder has even been presented, although the court was told of instances in which students at the school had riled Zadorov over the fact that he was in Israel illegally. Evidence was also presented that websites with pedophile-related content had been accessed from Zadorov's computer and that four days before the murder, he had accessed a site dealing with knives.

Despite an intensive search, the knife used in the murder was never found. Zadorov allegedly threw away the pants he was wearing the day Rada was killed, but a search of a local garbage dump failed to locate them. The most persuasive evidence against Zadorov, in the prosecution's view, is their contention that eight traces from the heels of the shoes the defendant was wearing on the day of the murder were found on Tair Rada's pants, which a police source said are the equivalent of fingerprints that would be unique to Zadorov's shoes.

The defense has contended that the prosecution's interpretation is a gross distortion of reality and the prosecutors were relying on the shoe evidence in the absence of any other laboratory findings. An expert from Britain testified on Zadorov's behalf that the residue on Rada's clothing was not clearly from shoes and if it was made by shoes, it is not clear that they were Zadorov's.

The defense also claimed that police prompted the accused in his interrogation and also directed him to reenact the crime according to their expectations. In Zadorov's defense, it was also argued that the timeline presented by the prosecution was implausible because, the defense claims, he was waiting outside the school for his employer when the murder was committed or close to that time.