Israeli Ex-con Suspected of Attempting to Burn Wife Alive

Suspect called 'cold and calculated' and is suspected of murdering his friend, attempted murder of his ex-wife, and self-immolation

Illustration: A man under arrest.
Olivier Fitoussi

A released ex-convict, who in the past kidnapped his two daughters following an argument with his ex-wife, is accused of attempting to murder her as well as another friend a month ago.

Police suspect that the man, David Bokbuza, a 47-year-old resident of Be'er Sheva, intended to kill others as well. Just hours after attempting to kill his ex-wife, he self-immolated in front of the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem, and sustained serious injuries.

The suspect, David Bokbuza

According to police, on April 7, Bokbuza showed up at his ex-wife's apartment, where his two daughters live, with a gun and gasoline, and attempted to light her on fire.

Initially, the police reported one the violent event and said Bokbuza is suspected of attacking and threatening her. A day after she reported the attempted murder, police raided Bokbuza's apartment and found the body of Avraham Alter, 65, with signs of violence on his body. Police suspect that Bokbuza murdered Alter, who had introduced Bokbuza to his ex-wife.

On the day of the attack, Bokbuza uploaded two YouTube videos in which he details his past and blames welfare and justice services for his plight. Before kidnapping his daughters, Bokbuza insisted that his wife had exposed his daughters to men who had sexually abused them. Investigations have not confirmed this claim.

The victim, Avraham Alter

After the two separated, Bokbuza's wife moved to a women's shelter with her daughters. Months later, Bokbuza behavior improved, and a decision was made to allow him visitation rights. Following the kidnapping, welfare officials noted that Bokbuza "is a cold and calculated man, who plans ahead and knows how to manipulate those around him with his charm." The conclusion states, "we are highly troubled, and concerned for the minors' safety." The evaluation report defined him as high risk.

Benny Zeitona, Bokbuza's public defender, stated that "the accusations are grave, and there's no doubt that in light of his grave medical and psychological condition, this is not a simple investigation. However, the investigation has been ongoing for over a month, and it seems that the time for it to end has come, while keeping in mind that other suspects may exist."