Homeless Man Found Guilty of Haifa Serial Murders

Nicolai Bonner, 33, convicted of premeditated murder and rape in killings of immigrants from former Soviet Union.

The Haifa District Court Tuesday convicted Nicolai Bonner, 33, of premeditated murders and rape in the serial killings of four immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

Three of the murder victims, Alexander Levant, 34; Alexander Kars, 39; and Valeri Soznov, 32, moved to Israel from the former Soviet Union, and Bonner used to drink with these men in the abandoned buildings by the Haifa market. The fourth victim, Rita Wolman, 54, also recently moved to Israel and lived in Haifa's Halisa neighborhood.

Bonner was also charged with burning the victims, destruction of evidence, and interfering with judicial proceedings.

Bonner moved to Israel from Moldova in 2000. His wife contracted tuberculosis, and passed away in January of 2003. One month after the death of his wife, with a rapidly deteriorating emotional state, Bonner requested a leave of absence from his job at a Jaffa pipe factory.

Bonner's defense attorney Ofer Cohen had requested that the court take his circumstances into account when considering his sentence, citing the defendant's unstable mental state.

Although the first murder occurred in 2005, police did not suspect a serial murderer until the third body of Valeri Soznov was uncovered two months later, and similarities were noted between the crime scenes. The victims were all beaten, their faces bruised, and then attempts were made to set them on fire.