21 Years Later, DNA Gets Israeli Man Convicted of Woman's Murder

DNA samples of Daniel Nahmani, who was arrested 5 years ago, led investigators to a Jerusalem forest where he had sexually assaulted the 17-year-old, verdict says

Daniel Nahmani at the Jerusalem District Court, January 3, 2019.
Emil Salman

A Jerusalem court convicted on Thursday a man for a 1998 murder of a 17-year-old woman, after DNA evidence led to his arrest five years ago.

Daniel Nahmani was convicted by the Jerusalem District Court for the premeditated murder of then 17-year-old Noa Eyal in Jerusalem 21 years ago. Nahmani was also convicted of sexual assault, but acquitted of the charges of rape. Details of the verdict are under a gag order, issued at the request of prosecutors.

Nahmani was arrested 16 years after the murder after DNA found at the scene of the crime was matched with a DNA sample taken from Nahmani’s father.

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Noa Eyal, the 17-year-old that was killed in 1998.

Eyal’s body was found in February 1998 in the Ramot Forest in northern Jerusalem. Eyal missed her last bus home to the Ramot neighborhood after going out to a movie in downtown Jerusalem with a friend. A taxi driver told police that he saw her getting into a white car near the Davidka Square in the center of town. For years the police did not have any real clues in the case until 2014.

In 2014, the police partially matched a DNA sample taken from the crime scene with a sample given by Nahmani’s father, who was arrested in a different case. It was clear the father was not the murderer, but the murderer had to be a close relative. Investigators found that Daniel Nahmani owned a car similar to the one described by the taxi driver. Detectives followed Nahmani and collected a DNA sample after he spat on the floor.

Prosecutors also presented evidence from the location of his cellphone on the night of the murder, placing him in central Jerusalem that night. Further evidence that he committed sex crimes against girls in the same area of the forest where Eyal’s body was found was also brought forward by the prosecutor.

After the verdict Nahmani’s lawyers said they will study the ruling and decide on how to proceed, adding that Nahmani continues to claim he is innocent. During the trial, his lawyers challenged the DNA evidence, complaining that the defense was not allowed to examine the DNA evidence independently and that none of the original DNA material remained after all the DNA tests conducted by the police.

The car Eyal got into from Jerusalem 21 years ago.
Tomer Neuberg