New Technology Leads to Israeli Suspect's Arrest – 26 Years After Murder

The 64-year-old man was apprehended based on evidence obtained with new technology

The suspect at court in Jerusalem, February 6, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi אוליבייה פיטוסי

Israel Police have arrested an unnamed 64-year-old man suspected of committing murder 26 years ago near Jerusalem. The city’s Magistrate Court lifted a gag order on the arrest after a request by Haaretz, but forbade releasing the identity of either the victim or the suspect.

The suspect was apprehended based on evidence obtained with new technology nonexistent at the time of the murder in the 1990s. The prosecutor’s office says he is suspected of murder and rape, and that his remand was extended by a week. The murder of 17-year-old Noa Eyal in 1998 was recently solved in similar fashion.

The police asserted during a hearing in the case that the suspect constituted a danger because of the suspicion of murder, suspicion of obstruction of justice and suspicion of flight.

Justice David Shauli said that “a combination of police efforts combined with technological advancements enabled a breakthrough, and one can say in this situation that the suspicions have a high probability of being correct and are not based on a single source, and that the evidence has a high potential of admissibility.”

Michael Ironi, the public defender representing the suspect, remarked on Wednesday that the suspect denies any connection to the case. The suspect “claims that he is unconnected to the event. He has been questioned a number of times since his arrest yesterday, and he has one version – that he does not know what they are talking about,” Ironi said. The lawyer was asked if the suspect was examined for mental fitness, and said that the court ruled there was no need for such an examination.

“What bothers me at this point is the gross violation of his rights in the investigation’s initial stages,” Ironi said during the hearing. “I believe that the very fact that he was questioned without being given the right to consult with a lawyer before the investigation is a callous violation of his rights. It is no mistake but an unjustified, dirty exercise.”

A Jerusalem court convicted Daniel Nahmani last month for the premeditated murder of then 17-year-old Noa Eyal in Jerusalem in 1998. Nahmani was also convicted of sexual assault, but was acquitted of the charges of rape.

Nahmani was arrested in 2014 after DNA found at the scene of the crime was matched with a DNA sample taken from Nahmani’s father.

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. Details of the verdict are under a gag order, issued at the request of prosecutors.