The State Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday dropped charges against the suspect in the 2009 double murder at a Tel Aviv LGBT youth club as a result of new evidence that casts doubt on the reliability of the state’s witness in the case.
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The suspect, Hagai Felician, was released to house arrest two weeks ago after almost nine months in jail after the new evidence, on which a gag order has been imposed, came to light.
The state’s witness was arrested last week and the agreement with him was annulled. The prosecution said it was considering prosecuting the man for fabricating evidence and obstructing justice.
The prosecutor in charge of the case, Oshra Gez, announced the decision to drop the charges against Felician to the Tel Aviv District Court judges hearing the case.
Felician’s attorneys, Oron Schwartz, Moshe Yohai and Yogev Narkis, said in response: “The first step in clearing the name of Hagai Felician begins today. Our heart is with the victims who have been left without relief. But Hagai, who almost became another victim in the Barnoar tragedy, wants to stand tall today and go on with his life.”
Felician told the police that the state’s witness had framed him when he plotted with him in a conversation that was wiretapped and became the prosecution’s main evidence against Felician. Felician said the state’s witness dictated what he should say in that conversation, in which he ostensibly confessed to the Barnoar shootings by saying: “We did clean work there at Barnoar,” for the purpose of extorting Barnoar’s director, Shaul Ganon, in exchange for 4,000 shekels (about $1,143).
In an interview last week on the Channel 2 investigative journalism program “Uvda,” Felician said he couldn’t remember where he was the night of the shooting attack on Barnoar, but that the money he was to receive blinded him and that he didn’t realize that what he was saying in the wiretapped conversation would be construed as a confession of murder, which he vehemently denied committing.
A 28-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl were killed in the attack on Barnoar, and 15 others were injured, six of them seriously.