Israel Prosecution Announces Retrial for Man Convicted of Killing Teen

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Roman Zadorov appears in the Nazareth Magistrate's Court in May
Roman Zadorov appears in the Nazareth Magistrate's Court in MayCredit: Gil Eliahu

Israel's state prosecutor decided on Wednesday to retry Roman Zodorov, who was twice convicted of the 2006 murder of 13-year-old Tair Rada in a school bathroom in the Golan Heights. 

The trial will take place in front of a panel of judges in the Nazareth District Court who have never dealt with the case.

"After assessing the matter and following several discussions, the State Prosecutor's Office has adopted the stance that there is a reasonable chance of convicting Zadorov of the murder of Tair Rada, and that there is a real public interest in going to a retrial," a statement from the prosecution read.

Only 34 retrials have been called in Israel's history, including Zadorov's, with most concerning petty crimes.

The decision was made by a team of attorneys formed by State Prosecutor Amit Isman, on the orders of former Supreme Court Vice President Hanan Meltzer.

In May, Meltzer accepted Zadorov's request for a retrial and ordered one be held, citing new evidence that "has the potential to change the results of the trial."

Melcer also dismissed the possibility that another suspect, Ola Karbachenko, was responsible for the murder, saying there was little evidence to support the theory. In Isman's decision Wednesday, he decided to shelve the case against Karbachenko due to lack of guilt.

The new evidence includes the opinion of a foreign forensic expert who said that the bloodstains at the murder scene don’t conform to Zadorov’s version of events in his testimony. Another piece of evidence was the DNA test which, according to Zadorov, identified the hairs found at the scene as belonging to a man identified as A. H., who had previously said his ex-wife, Karbachenko, had murdered Rada.

Zadorov submitted his request for a retrial last July after his legal counsel came across a recording of a lecture to students by the director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine. The lecture implied that the manner in which Rada bled did not match the murder as described in the verdict convicting Zadorov.

The evidence also included a shoe found at the scene with Rada’s blood on its heel; it did not belong to Zadorov. The prosecution argued at the trial that it had come from an “unknown rescuer” who arrived on the scene after Rada’s body was found.

Another piece of evidence that raises doubts about Zadorov’s guilt was revealed in an admission by the state that there had been an error in the professional opinion submitted by the Institute for Forensic Medicine.

Contrary to what was written in that opinion, Rada’s blood was found on the toilet paper holder in the third stall of the bathroom, which is next to the second stall, where the killing was committed. If, as the new opinion states, the blood stained the shoe immediately after the murder, this fact strengthens the hypothesis that the murderer fled from the second stall, which was locked from the inside, to the third stall and then out of the restroom. This does not match the path that Zadorov showed investigators that he took when he reenacted the killing.

Zadorov was convicted of Rada’s murder in a unanimous verdict by a panel of Nazareth District Court judges in 2010. Zadorov, a maintenance man at the school, appealed the verdict and submitted a request to submit new evidence. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the district court, which reconvicted Zadorov in 2014. He appealed again, but his appeal was denied in late 2015.

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