Court Acquits Mobsters in Teenage Girl's 2004 Murder

Yesterday, six years after 16-year-old Shaked Shalhov was killed by an errant bullet during a botched mob hit, the Be'er Sheva District Court acquitted the two suspects, Yisrael Ganon and Michel Jeano, of her murder.

The judges ruled that the evidence did not prove beyond all doubt that the two men were connected to the murder.

"There was no justice here," said her mother, Ilana Shalhov. "I could not agree to any plea bargain. The fact that they offered us a deal says everything, but they were given lawyers who got them acquitted."

"This is almost as difficult a day as when they told us she was murdered," said her father, Amir Shalhov. "This is difficult for us to stomach."

Shaked Shalhov, of Ashkelon, was shot and killed on July 20, 2003, as she and a friend were in the car of an acquaintance, Yaniv Revah.

At the intersection of Begin and Rabin Streets in Ashkelon, another vehicle passed Revah's car and opened fire, killing Shalhov and wounding the two others.

The incident shocked the public and the police: Shalhov was the first innocent bystander to be killed in underworld warfare.

The investigation later revealed that the murder was connected to a power struggle between two criminal organizations over illegal sand-digging operations in the Ashkelon area.

The two suspects had allegedly been asked to assassinate Shalom Dumrani, thought to be the head of the rival group. Dumrani had ridden in Revah's car shortly before Revah picked up Shalhov and her friend.

The first break in the case came in October 2003, when the suspects allegedly attempted to kidnap Revah. Investigators who had been tracking the two suspects foiled the abduction attempt and arrested the suspects.

The second break came in early 2004 when Yaron Senker, an escaped prisoner was caught at Ben-Gurion International Airport trying to flee the country. In his testimony, Senker also connected the two men to the attempted murder of Dumrani.