Woman Murdered in Southern Israel One Week After Police Held Her Partner for Assaulting Her

Police in Be'er Sheva released 41-year-old woman's 46-year-old partner after she refused to file charges against him

The murder site in Be'er Sheva, Israel, July 11, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Marina Luginov, a 41-year-old woman from Be’er Sheva, was stabbed to death Monday night, a week after her partner was arrested on suspicion of assaulting her.

The man, 46-year-old Sergey Tsymbal, is being held on suspicion of murder after being found in Luginov’s apartment with blood on his hands.

Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, medics of the Magen David Adom ambulance service were summoned to the apartment, where they found Luginov already dead, with stab wounds on her body. Her partner, Tsymbal, was with her in the apartment, with blood on his hands, when the medics arrived.

Police said the woman had never filed a domestic violence complaint. But a week before the murder, police had arrested Tsymbal on suspicion of assaulting Luginov, after neighbors called to report hearing screams from the apartment.

In their report on that incident, police wrote that when they went to the apartment, they had to ask the couple to open the door several times before one of them finally did so.

“The police entered and saw signs of violence on the woman,” the report said. “The suspect emerged from one of the rooms. Harsh words erupted in the apartment. The suspect assaulted a policeman and punched him in the cheek.”

But police said the injuries the woman had suffered weren’t serious, and that while she was in the midst of giving her statement at the police station, she walked out.

A court ordered Tsymbal held without bail for two days over that earlier incident, but then he was released, on condition that he stay away from the apartment and his partner.

A source in the prosecution said that two days after Tsymbal’s domestic violence arrest, police investigators told prosecutors that they didn’t have enough evidence to indict him, partly because of his wife’s refusal to file a complaint. The prosecution responded that in that case, given that the suspect had no criminal record and that both he and his wife had both been alcoholics in the past, he shouldn’t be kept under arrest any longer. Therefore, the police released him, albeit with restrictions that he later violated

Attorney Alex Gauskin, the public defender representing Tsymbal, said his client had been treated for mental health issues in the past, and “was in a difficult emotional state and under the influence of alcohol.”

The Be’er Sheva’s Magistrate’s Court ordered Tsymbal held without bail until Thursday.

Luginov was the eleventh woman in Israel murdered this year. In nearly all the cases, the suspects arrested were either the women’s husbands or partners (either current or former) or male relatives. sEighteen women were murdered in Israel in 2016.