Murderer of Israeli Teen, Convicted Through DNA Evidence, Sentenced to Life in Prison

Daniel Nahmani is charged with killing Noa Eyal, a 17-year-old girl he picked up in his car, then drove to a forest where he sexually assaulted and killed her 21 years ago

Daniel Nahmani at the Jerusalem District Court on Monday, April 29, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

An Israeli man was sentenced on Monday to life plus 16 years in prison for the murder of the teen Noa Eyal 21 years ago.

Daniel Nahmani was also ordered to pay the Eyal family the maximal compensation under law: 258,000 shekels (approximately $71,300).

Noa Eyal, the 17-year-old that was killed in 1998.

His lawyers say Nahmani insists he is innocent and will be appealing the verdict.

According to the ruling, Nahmani drove Eyal, aged 17, in his car to the Ramot forest, stripped her, committed sodomy while she struggled and then crushed her skull with a blunt object.

Nahmani was arrested in 2014, sixteen years after the crime, and was convicted in January of murder and sodomy, though he was acquitted of rape, based on doubt.

The sentence is the maximal possible that the Jerusalem District Court could impose.

The car Eyal got into from Jerusalem 21 years ago.
Tomer Neuberg

Eyal's family commented that for 17 years the "monster in human form" had been roaming about free, living his life. "Now the court in Jerusalem closed the circle. Ostensibly order has been restored," the family stated, adding that the court had handed down its verdict and justice had been done.

However, the family said, "The words 'just trial' is ironic from our perspective, as what kind of justice can there be against the exploitation of innocence and taking of life? For us, the family, this brings no relief or comfort. We will eternally remain with the pain and sadness."

Eyal’s body was found in February 1998 in the Ramot Forest in northern Jerusalem. She had 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.

In 2014, the police partially matched a DNA sample taken from the crime scene with a sample given by Nahmani’s father, who was arrested in a different case. It was clear the father was not the murderer, but the murderer had to be a close relative. Investigators found that Daniel Nahmani owned a car similar to the one described by the taxi driver.

Detectives followed Nahmani and collected a DNA sample after he spat on the floor.

Prosecutors also presented evidence from the location of his cellphone on the night of the murder, placing him in central Jerusalem that night.

Further evidence that he committed sex crimes against girls in the same area of the forest where Eyal’s body was found was also brought forward by the prosecutor.