Police investigating the beachfront lynching of Leonard Karp failed to collect evidence at the scene as required by protocol, possibly losing data that could have provided more details about Karp's last moments, said the attorney of one of the main suspects in his murder.
Eight men from Jaljulya were arrested for attacking Karp in August, on Tel Aviv's Tel Baruch beach, while he was walking with his wife and daughter.
Three were charged with murder; on Thursday, a Tel Aviv District Court judge extended their remand. Four others were charged with lesser offenses, and one was not charged.
Two teenage women who had been with the suspects that night were also arrested.
A forensics report by the police's Yarkon District states a forensics unit that was supposed to examine the crime scene never made it there because it got stuck along the way.
The report, which was obtained by Haaretz, also shows that the detectives examining the crime scene had trouble finding a physician with legal training to examine Karp's body, delaying the pathologist's examination.
Karp's body was moved before the examination, resulting in the "possible loss of significant findings on the body," the report states.
A police spokesman responded, "A forensics team acted according to protocol at the scene."
"I don't know if the forensics unit would have assisted us or the prosecution," said Asher Chen, a defense attorney for one of the three murder suspects. He said that regardless, the fact that no forensic examiner came to the rocky area where Karp died is "one of the reasons that no one can say how Karp ended up at the water's edge an hour after escaping from his attackers."
The Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court remanded all eight suspects to police custody, while putting the women - a 19-year-old soldier and a 17-year-old - under house arrest.
According to police reports, the three murder suspects initially cursed at Karp's daughter. When he responded, they attacked him and his family, causing Karp severe injuries. Police believe Karp eventually staggered away from the scene of the assault, went to the water's edge to wash his face, and then collapsed and died.
While the three defendants' lawyers have not yet submitted their defense, the judge presiding over the case has already stated that "there is a causal link between the assault and the death."
She added this link, however, was not enough to determine whether to convict the three of murder, as the prosecution is seeking, as opposed to manslaughter.
Chen also said that footage from a security camera that may have shed light on Karp's last moments was lost, because police failed to seize it. According to Chen, the police never asked the Israel Electric Corporation for footage from a camera positioned atop the Reading Tower. He said that when he asked for the footage, he was told it is erased at the end of every week.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now