British Expert: Shoe Prints on Slain Golan Teen Rada Were Not Those of Accused Killer

"The marks that were found on the pants of Tair Rada are not the prints from the soles of the shoes of Roman Zadorov," said Dr. Guy Cooper, who testified yesterday in Zadorov's trial. Roman Zadorov is on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Tair Rada, who was found dead at her school in the Golan Heights town of Katzrin in late 2006.

Cooper is an expert from the United Kingdom who was brought to Israel as an expert witness on behalf of the defense team. His testimony is considered critical for the defense because it contradicts that of prosecution witness Yaron Shor, an expert in shoe prints at the police laboratory for prints and materials.

According to Shor's testimony, findings on Rada's pants suggested eight points of similarity with the sole prints of the shoes that Zadorov wore on the day the girl was murdered.

The British expert argued that it is not even clear that the marks found came from shoes. And if they did, he claimed that they "could have come from any shoe," though not, he insisted, from the shoes of the accused.

According to former police officer Avner Rozengarten, director of the private Institute for Forensic Science, and in the past a forensic investigator for the police, "as someone who found the piece of evidence, I can say the following: It is an odd situation when two honest experts reach completely different conclusions. One of them says that it might not even be a print left from a shoe. Either one of the investigators is wrong, or one of them is not telling the truth. I know that those were signs of shoes, and it is not my job to determine whose shoe."

Cooper is one of the final witnesses appearing for the defense. The court is scheduled to be finished hearing all testimoney by November 8.