Court Jails 'DNA Rapist' to 25 Years

Eitan Farhi, 40, of Herzliya, known as the 'DNA rapist,' was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison by the Tel Aviv District Court for various charges, including raping and sodomizing two women.

The first victim was a a 20-year-old from Tel Aviv who left her apartment to take out the trash. Farhi impersonated a policeman and forced her to perform oral sex. The second was a 16-year-old, who was attacked while walking home from a youth group activity in Rehovot.

Farhi was also convicted of indecent assault, rape by aggravated assault, suborning perjury, robbery and attacking a police officer. The attacks occurred in the center of the country; Farhi was convicted on the basis of a DNA sample he gave to police after being questioned for the 2006 murder of Anat Pleiner, a lawyer from Ramat Hasharon.

Throughout the trial, Farhi's defense attorneys, Amikam Hadar and Hedva Shapira, argued against the case's legality, as the evidence used against their client was obtained, they said, in an unjust manner. The DNA sample Farhi provided in the framework of a murder trial had subsequently been held by the police illegally, they said. Farhi's lawyers said it was illegal to compare the DNA sample given as evidence in an unrelated murder trial with the sperm found at the rape crime scenes and to use such evidence to convict their client of rape.

However, the District Court judges ruled "the public interest will decide" and therefore "it is necessary to reject the defendant's claim regarding the unfair evidence used to accuse him." Courts that do not admit evidence obtained illegally, said the judges, would in this instance make an exception and accept the evidence.

"If we would accede to the defendant's requests in every case, it would mean that someone who allegedly committed serious crimes and significantly endangers others, especially women incapable of being rescued, would be free to roam and commit more atrocious acts, similar to those he has previously committed," the judges ruled.

After the murder of Anat Pleiner in April 2006, Farhi provided a DNA sample to detectives. Almost three months later, the head of the police's DNA Reserves, Ashira Zamir, began to check the samples that were collected at three different crime scenes in which two rapes and another sexual assault had occurred. In a letter to her supervisor, Zamir wrote that she was surprised to discover that she recognized the DNA samples. Zamir initiated a new investigation, separate from the murder case of Einat Pleiner, and found that there was a match between the DNA samples found at the crime scenes and the DNA sample that Farhi had submitted to detectives.