Israeli Ex-con Indicted for Stabbing Neighbor to Death in Her Sleep

Victim’s son, 11, was lying next to her. The motive in the murder of Mirwat Abu Jalil is unknown.

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The accused, Ashraf Tahimer, in court.
The accused, Ashraf Tahimer, in court on June 2, 2016.Credit: Eran Gilwarg, Walla News

A Shfar’am ex-convict with a violent past was indicted on Thursday for stabbing his next-door neighbor to death in her sleep – as her 11-year-old son lay next to her.

The motive in the murder of Mirwat Abu Jalil is unknown. The murder took place May 1, and the gag order on it was lifted on Thursday.

Referrring to Ashraf Tahimer, the accused, Chief Superintendent Uzi Hadar of the police’s Northern Division said, “We don’t know the motive, only that the suspect is a criminal who was released from prison several months ago. He uses drugs and breaks into houses. He’s known to be violent and used to assault his wife, whom he divorced.”

Public defender attorney Wissam Aref said his client “denies all accusations and has cooperated with investigators.”

After the murder, members of the Abu Jalil family, along with other Shfar’am residents, set Tahimer’s house on fire.

Victim's struggle

The indictment says Tahimer entered Abu Jalil’s apartment through the living room. He went to the kitchen, removed his shoes and grabbed a large knife. He then went upstairs to the bedroom, approached the sleeping woman and stabbed her in the neck. She woke up and started fighting back but he continued to assault her, cutting her face and hand while trying to muzzle her.

Beside Abu Jalil lay her sleeping 11 year-old son, who was awakened by the commotion. According to the charge sheet, the boy also tried to fight Tahimer off but was pushed back, hurting his ankle.

His 18-year-old brother was sleeping in another room but woke up when he heard his mother screaming. The indictment says that when he emerged from his room, he was spotted by Tahimer who punched him in the face, knocking out a tooth. Tahimer also tried to stab him but the young man deflected the blow, getting cut on his fingers. The accused then jumped out of the window and disappeared. The older son chased him but Tahimer got away.

The indictment says Tahimer returned to his father’s house, but when he heard residents shouting his name, he woke up his small child and escaped. He was arrested a few hours later at a friend’s house in I’billin. Meanwhile, Shfar’am residents and Abu Jalil’s family members had torched Tahimer’s home.

'This criminal murdered my sister'

The murder victim’s brother, Zaidan Abu Jalil, told Haaretz: “This criminal murdered my sister, but he also destroyed an entire family. Murdering a woman in front of her son is inhuman. He can say whatever he wants, for us he’s a despicable murderer and no punishment he gets will bring back my sister. The whole family is trying to help the children deal with this tragedy. God help us.”

A crime lab found Tahimer’s shoes at the crime scene and people saw him returning home, the indictment notes. When he was arrested he had traces of drugs in his blood.

Tahimer provided many details during his interrogation, suggesting he was sane at the time.

That day, emergency medical services received a report of a woman stabbed in her home. Large contingents of police and paramedics arrived and found Abu Jalil lying in a pool of blood. Paramedics tried to resuscitate her but ultimately had to pronounce her dead.

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