State Seeks Life Plus 60 Years for Killer of Teen at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

Prosecutor asks Jerusalem judge 'to ensure that the accused never goes free,' referring to Yishai Schlissel, murderer of 16-year-old Shira Banki a year ago.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Yishai Schlissel at Jerusalem court. April 19, 2016.
Yishai Schlissel at Jerusalem court. April 19, 2016.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Prosecutors have asked for a life sentence and another 60 years for Yishai Schissel, for the murder of Shira Banki at a Gay Pride march in Jeusalem last year, and for the accused to pay compensation to her family and the wounded.

Attorney Oshrat Shoham, a Jerusalem district prosecutor, said on Thursday during a hearing ahead of sentencing:

"The accused's actions were dark. They were aimed at darkening the world of people marching joyously through in the city, and as an attempt to strike fear from a place of hatred, intolerance and zealotry, and take the lives of innocent people. We ask the court to ensure that the accused never goes free and make clear to all the zealots that the justice system will respond forcefully to extreme acts of hatred."

Schlissel, 39, was convicted in April of the killing as well as the attempted murder for stabbing and wounding six other people.

Shira Banki, a teen who died a few days after being stabbed at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade.Credit: Courtesy

Judges on the three-member panel severely criticized the police as well, saying they had failed to properly absorb the lessons of a previous attack by Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox man, on a gay pride parade in 2005.

They described as unfathomable the ease with which Schlissel managed to perpetrate an additional attack only a month after his release from prison for the earlier stabbings in which he wounded three people.

The judges also criticized the law for failing to require follow-up monitoring of dangerous criminals once they have completed serving their sentences.

"Shira was an innocent, idealistic young woman full of hopes and dreams. The accused perpetrated a dark and cruel and useless merciless act that snuffed out her life," the judges wrote.

Schlissel was indicted in August for Banki's murder, and as his charge sheet was read out in court he blurted out that "whenever there is a gay pride parade [you should] stop the blasphemy against God. Stop the madness and all the people of Israel should repent."

Schlissel underwent psychiatric evaluation before standing trial. He defiantly refused any representation, saying in the past that he doesn't recognize the court's authority.

Sentencing has been scheduled for June 26.

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