Prosecutors Cast Doubt on State Witness in Tel Aviv Gay Center Shooting

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State prosecutors appear to be questioning the reliability of the key witness against the man suspected of killing two people in a 2009 shooting at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv.

The prosecution and police announced Wednesday that they would be "carrying out additional investigative activities" in light of new findings in the Bar Noar center case.

Those findings have pushed law enforcement officials to question the reliability of the state's witness, whose identity cannot be released because of a gag order on the case, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.

The witness, a gay activist, is believed to have been the original target of the shooting, which appears to have been meant as a revenge attack rather than a hate crime. More details about the motive are under gag order.

Police suspect that Hagai Felician, the prime suspect in the case, was a hired gunman who opened fire indiscriminately in August 2009 when he did not find his target, killing Liz Trubeshi, 16, and youth counselor Nir Katz, 27, and dozens wounded.

Felician's lawyer accused the witness of obstructing the investigation.

"From the day we started to delve into the evidentiary material, a worrying picture has become clear: the only link between Mr. Felician and the tragic case arose in the form of the mere words of a state's witness who is carrying out obstructive moves and various sleights of hand that were intended to cover up the obstruction," said Oron Schwartz, Felician's lawyer. "Our ability to be focused and point out the traces of this kind of obstruction and manipulation cast a dark shadow over any link between Mr. Felician and the case."

The witness had previously approached the police voluntarily to provide details pertaining to the murder. He disclosed that he gave the suspects information about the youth center without knowing that they were intending to kill anyone.

After reaching an agreement with him, the police used the state witness as an undercover agent, during which they said he recorded the suspects confessing to the murder. Felician later reportedly told police that he took credit for a crime he did not commit

While only one killer came to the club, police reportedly believe that at least two more people conspired with him and came to his aid afterward. Police suspect that all three are members of a large crime ring.

Demonstation at a memorial for the Bar Noar victims, June 11, 2013. The pink side reads, "Homophobia kills."Credit: Moti Milrod

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