Court Gives Three Life Terms to 'Sadist' Who Killed American-Israeli Teen Dana Bennett, Two Others

Yahiya Adwan Farhan, 35, who was described by his judges as 'a human monster,' was sentenced on Wednesday to three consecutive life terms plus 12 years - or 102 years.

Yahiya Adwan Farhan, 35, who was described by his judges as "a human monster," was sentenced yesterday in Nazareth District Court to three consecutive life terms plus 12 years - or 102 years. Farhan, already serving a sentence for rape, was convicted of three murders, including Israeli-American teenager Dana Bennett, who disappeared in 2003.

Farhan was found guilty of the murder of Bennett; 27-year-old Czech citizen Sylvia Molorova; and Aharon Simhov, 25, who had shared a cell with Farhan.

Yahiya Adwan Farhan
Gil Eliyahu

Judges Tawfik Katili, Danny Tsarfati and Asher Kola rejected the defense argument for a lesser punishment on the grounds of mental illness or incapacity.

"The defendant was well aware of this actions and opted, in cold blood, consciously and with premeditation," the judges wrote, "to carry out murders and other crimes for which he was convicted. This is a sadist who kills for the sake of killing." They said he must be removed from society until the end of his days."

Defense attorney Fathi Fukra argued against consecutive life sentences because of the relatively mild sentence given to "Y" (whose name has not been released ), Farhan's partner in the murders of Bennett and Molorova. She was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. The judges, however, accepted the position of prosecutors Iris Shiran and Tomer Schwartz.

"We decided to sentence him to three life sentences so he does not see the light of day, so that he will know, and others will know, too, that the life of a person is not a trivial matter," the judges wrote.

The remains of Dana Bennett were found last year. Her mother Vicky said after the sentencing that "the pain will not pass and will be with me every step and every place. I miss Dana very much. The fact that the murderer will sit in prison will not bring Dana back to me, but in the end it will prevent him from killing again." She said she would go to her daughter's grave to share the news with her. She thanked Avi Algrisi, who headed the police investigation into the murders, and the lawyers for the prosecution. Aharon Simhov was found hanging in the cell in 2005, less than a day after his arrest. His brother, Vitaly Ashurov, said yesterday that "nothing can bring Aharon back" but that "justice had shown through," and that had argued from the beginning that Aharon had been murdered. "It's too bad that it took five and a half years, and the system needed to respond sooner," he said.