Man Convicted of Murdering Israeli Schoolgirl Seeks Retrial

The lawyer of Roman Zadorov, who was found guilty of murdering 13-year Tair Rada in 2010, claims to have an opinion from an overseas forensic expert that the crime was committed by a woman known as A.K.

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Roman Zadorov at the Supreme Court, Jerusalem, 2015.
Roman Zadorov at the Supreme Court, Jerusalem, 2015. Credit: Dudi Vaknin
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

Roman Zadorov, who was convicted in 2010 of murdering 13-year-old Israeli schoolgirl Tair Rada four years earlier, has petitioned for a retrial on Wednesday based on evidence that his attorney Yoram Halevi say exonerates his client and points the blame at a woman known as A.K.

On December 6, 2006 Rada was found with her throat slashed in the bathroom at her school in the northern city of Katzerin. Zadorov had been doing construction work at the school on that day. He was arrested, confessed to and reenacted the murder, then promptly retracted his confession.

Halevi claims to have an opinion from an overseas forensic expert, according to which the bloodstains that were found at the murder scene contradict Zadorov's confession.

Zadorov is currently serving a life sentence for murdering Rada after the Nazareth District Court found him guilty in 2010. He appealed but the Supreme Court rejected his appeal in 2015. In 2016 the TV show "Shadow of Truth" suggested that the real killer was A.K., who at the time of the killing, was living with her boyfriend, A.H. He said she had admitted to him that she committed the crime. The police ruled out A.H.'s story and A.K. herself denied it.

Tair RadaCredit: Dror Artzi (Reproduction)

In 2018 the prosecution announced that one of three hairs found on Rada's clothes belonged to A.H. – whose clothing A.K. had ostensibly worn while allegedly killing Rada, according to A.H.

Israeli courts may order retrial in four cases: if significant evidence turns out to be false; if new evidence is uncovered that could change the verdict; if another person is found guilty of the crime; if there is substantial concern that law distortion was caused by the original conviction.

In addition, the attorney general may decide that a person should be vindicated and ask the court to do so without holding a retrial.

Every year some 25 requests for retrial are made, however since Israel's inception the Supreme Court have acceded in 30 cases. Only several defendants who underwent retrial were acquitted.  

In 2015 Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger ruled in a minority opinion that Zadorov should be acquitted due to reasonable doubt, calling the case borderline, while adding some aspects of it are keeping him up at night.    

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