A man who claims his romantic partner murdered teenager Tair Rada in 2006 was found to be telling the truth in a polygraph test, yet another suspect was ultimately convicted of the murder of 13-year-old Rada at her school.
The man’s testimony was first reported Saturday night by the documentary series “Shadow of Truth” on Channel 8 television.
The Supreme Court, however, rejected this testimony when it heard Roman Zadorov’s appeal of his conviction for the murder, and in a 2-1 decision three months ago, it upheld Zadorov’s conviction.
Rada was found murdered in her school in the Golan Heights town of Katzrin in 2006. Zadorov, who was working at the school at the time, was ultimately convicted, but much of the evidence has been hotly disputed.
A few years ago, a man identified only as A.H. said his partner, A.K., told him she had murdered Rada. Channel 8 sent A.H. for a private polygraph test in which he was asked two questions: “Is it true that A.K. showed you bloodstained clothing which was in her bag?” and “Is it true she showed you a bloodstained, serrated hunting knife?” A.H. responded affirmatively to both, and the polygraph showed him to be telling the truth.
Producers Ari Pines, Yotam Guendelman and Mika Timor didn’t send these findings to either the police or the Justice Ministry before the show aired. They said this was because investigators already had A.H.’s testimony and had tried to keep it quiet.
The courts first heard about A.H. only long after the original trial, when the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court so it could reconsider two issues. At that point, Zadorov’s attorneys sought to introduce A.H.’s testimony, which they found out about because A.H.’s attorney had contacted the Public Defender’s Office.
“According to A.H.’s testimony, on the night after the incident, his partner showed him clothing and a knife stained with blood that she said she had used to commit the murder,” Zadorov’s attorneys wrote in their request. “The partner, who was then around 20, formerly taught at the Nofei Golan school, where the murder was committed. A.H. also said that his partner, though she was never treated or diagnosed, suffered from a disorder – a strong desire to smell human blood, to cut people and to remove their internal organs.”
In April 2012, the Public Defender’s Office asked the prosecution to investigate A.H.’s testimony. A.K. was questioned and denied her partner’s accusation, saying he had libeled her because of a nasty break-up.
The prosecution subsequently told the court that before A.H. contacted the Public Defender’s Office, A.K. had filed a police complaint accusing him of rape and violence. She later withdrew the complaint because she said he had finally accepted their break-up. But police were investigating A.H. on suspicion of sex offenses and giving false testimony, the prosecution said.
While investigating A.H., police ended up arresting A.K. for trying to attack a witness with a broken bottle and then trying to bite the arresting officer. She confessed under interrogation that she has a craving for human blood, for cutting people and for removing their internal organs.
She was ultimately found unfit to stand trial and hospitalized in the Abarbanel psychiatric hospital.
“The defense believes police didn’t succeed in refuting A.H.’s testimony, and that there were flaws in the investigation,” Zadorov’s attorneys wrote in their request, adding, “It’s clear that admitting A.H.’s testimony could change the outcome of the trial.”
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court decided the Nazareth District Court didn’t need to hear this new evidence, but only evidence related to the two points it wanted reconsidered: the nature of a shoeprint found at the crime scene and whether the murder was committed with a straight-edged or serrated blade.
It thereby accepted the prosecution’s position that A.H.’s testimony stemmed from the “pathological relationship between the two members of the couple, neither of whom is emotionally stable.” The prosecution also noted that a rough draft of A.H.’s testimony was found on his computer, and the final version contained some significant alterations. Moreover, it said, no fingerprints matching A.K.’s were found at the scene, nor did she even possess the knife in question at the time, since police had confiscated it six months earlier.
The defense, however, noted that A.H. claimed his partner had bought a new knife.
Channel 8 also played taped testimony by May Peleg, who was hospitalized at Abarbanel together with A.K. Peleg said that A.K.’s roommate, Anat, had told her A.K. confessed to the murder. But both Anat and Peleg have since committed suicide, so the tape isn’t admissible as evidence.