Man Freed After Killing His Rapist Ordered Back to Jail for a Year on Parole Violation

Yonatan Heilo sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2013 for killing Yaron Eilin, but was released in July 2018 after serving two-thirds of his sentence

Josh Breiner
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Yonatan Heilo on his release from prison in 2018.
Yonatan Heilo on his release from prison in 2018.Credit: Moti Milrod
Josh Breiner

A parole board on Wednesday ordered Yonatan Heilo returned to prison for a year for violating the conditions of his parole. Heilo won early release last year after serving more than eight years in prison for killing a man he said had raped him. Heilo is expected to appeal the decision to the  district court.

“We suggested to him that he use his time in prison to participate in appropriate treatment frameworks,” Judge Shlomo Izacksohn, who serves on the parole board at Hasharon Prison, wrote in the decision.

The parole board was convened after the State Prosecutor’s Office requested that Heilo be returned to prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Parole officials claimed Heilo has violated his parole terms three times in the year since his release, drinking alcohol on three occasions and taking part in violent incidents on the northern Israeli kibbutz where he lived, including a verbal confrontation with another man while drunk.

Heilo’s lawyer, Alon Eizenberg, said his client began drinking due to depression resulting from the rape and the incarceration that followed. “Yonatan Heilo’s story is a legal tragedy,” said Eizenberg. “The deceased raped him and brutalized him. For years the prosecution fought to sentence him to life imprisonment, and as a defense attorney today you understand that the legal success that he was released after six years has no meaning at all when he was released from the prison into an infinite vacuum, without the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority fighting for his rehabilitation.”

Heilo was convicted in 2013 of murdering Yaron Eilin, who raped Heilo twice, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The court rejected his claim of self-defense. In 2016, the Supreme Court partially granted Heilo’s appeal, reducing his conviction from murder to manslaughter and his sentence to 12 years. In November 2017, President Reuven Rivlin reduced his sentence by an additional year, allowing him to apply for immediate parole. Heilo was released in July 2018, after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Heilo killed Yaron Eilin in May 2010 after they got into an argument. Both men had been drinking. Heilo said Eilin had demanded 1,000 shekels ($275) and threatened to beat him up if he didn’t give him the money. When Eilin turned his back, Heilo began choking him. Eilin eventually fell down, at which point Heilo hit him in the head with a rock. Heilo then dragged the body alongside a large garbage bin and hit him again in the head with a rock, killing Eilin. Heilo turned himself in to the police a few hours later and confessed to the crime.