Eliran Malul, who is suspected of murdering his wife Michal Sela, was questioned by the police on Monday but exercised his right to remain silent.
His lawyer, Idan Gamlieli of the Public Defender’s Office, said Malul kept silent because he is still foggy from painkillers, having only regained consciousness Sunday after being seriously injured in what police suspect was an attempted suicide. But police rejected this explanation, saying he intentionally refused to cooperate.
Malul underwent a first round of questioning at Hadassah Hospital, Ein Karem on Sunday, after doctors said his condition had improved. Last Friday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court had ordered him held without bail until Thursday, and his name remained under gag order until Monday.
Malul, 34, is suspected of stabbing Sela to death in front of their eight-month-old daughter last Thursday at their home in Jerusalem’s Motza neighborhood. He then tried to commit suicide, police say, and was seriously wounded. Despite his injuries, he took his daughter to a neighbor and asked her to take care of the girl, and then collapsed.
“I heard knocking and I opened the door,” the neighbor recounted. “I saw a man ... holding a baby, sitting on the floor near my door and leaning against the wall. He told me, ‘I need help, bring me a glass of water and take the child.’ I brought him water and took the child and asked what happened. He said, ‘My wife and I tried to commit suicide.’”
- Israel police question suspect in his wife’s stabbing death
- Woman stabbed to death in Jerusalem home; wounded husband is main suspect
- Man charged with stabbing wife to death in northern Israel
The neighbor then called the police.
“He was wounded, but he seemed completely fine in terms of his speech,” she said of Malul. “He didn’t seem agitated or confused.” She said the baby was covered in blood from her father’s injuries, and that she took care of the child. Only after did she hear that Sela's body was found.
Sela, 32, worked at an educational center in Jerusalem. Family members said she met her husband through their work with at-risk children in Jerusalem, and added that they were unaware of him ever being violent towards her. “They were a loving couple, and the family didn’t see anything out of the ordinary,” one relative said. “It’s a tragedy.”
Sela’s mother Daniela said her daughter “chose a profession through which she could help others, in order to bring light and happiness to the world.”