Psychiatric Evaluation Ordered for Israeli Father Who Stabbed Infant to Death

The man, who killed his 10-month-old baby, is currently being held without bail ■ Wife and 3-year-old daughter remain in hospital

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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Barak Ben-Ami with his wife and daughters
Barak Ben-Ami with his wife and daughtersCredit:
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

An Israeli man who stabbed his infant daughter to death Friday and severely injured his wife and their 3-year-old daughter has been referred by the court to psychiatric evaluation.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court also lifted a gag order on the suspect’s name Sunday, identifying him as Barak Ben-Ami, a 33-year-old mechanical engineer from Hod Hasharon. It ordered him held without bail for an additional 10 days.

The initial psychiatric evaluation is slated to take place within 24 hours.

A police officer told the court that police had discovered a motive for Ben-Ami’s attacks, but didn’t elaborate on what it was. He also said Ben-Ami had refused legal counsel before his interrogation and had claimed that his mental condition was shaky.

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Nevertheless, police did not refer him for psychiatric evaluation, saying he showed no signs of mental illness.

The couple had not been discussing a divorce, nor were they in financial straits, the officer said. And family members who were questioned reported no previous indications of domestic violence.

Ben-Ami’s public defender, Ran Alon, said he viewed his client’s actions as an “unplanned incident” committed while Ben-Ami was “in a very difficult emotional state, upset and confused.” Noting that Ben-Ami had no history of violence and no criminal record, he added, “There’s no rational explanation for what happened, and therefore, his mental health must be examined in depth.”

The couple’s 10-month-old daughter died of her injuries shortly after her stabbing. Their 3-year-old daughter is in a pediatric intensive care unit at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava in serious condition, sedated and on a respirator.

Her mother was moved Sunday to the adult ICU in Meir to be near her. She had been in an ICU at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, where her condition was listed as serious but stable.

After the stabbings, Ben-Ami tried to kill himself and was also hospitalized. He therefore missed his first bail hearing.

At this hearing, police said they had no previous dealings with Ben-Amir or his family. The Hod Hasharon municipality said that neither had its department of social services.

A source familiar with the details of the investigation said Saturday that Ben-Ami had confessed to the crimes, but his motive wasn’t yet clear. At Sunday’s court hearing, police said that before she was taken to the hospital Saturday she had indicated that her husband was the perpetrator.

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