Witness in Teen Murder Trial Says He Saw Defendant, Victim Dig Grave Together

The witness told the court that after seeing the defendant and 17-year-old victim walking around a construction site, he discovered her body covered in sand and called the police

Adi Hashmonai
Security guard Hassan Mouassi, the key witness in the trial.
Security guard Hassan Mouassi, the key witness in the trial.Credit: Rami Shllush
Adi Hashmonai

A construction site security guard testified on Monday in the murder trial of a hospital nurse accused of murdering 17-year-old Lital Yael Melnik, telling the court he saw the defendant and the victim dig her grave together.

Melnik, who met the defendant Eduard Kachura as a patient at the Haifa-area psychiatric hospital where he worked, was murdered in October 2021.

The testifying guard, Hassan Mouassi, worked at the construction site next to where Melnik was buried, in the northern city of Kiryat Motzkin. He told the Haifa District Court that he found Melnik covered in sand and called the police.

Mouassi repeated what he said in his police statement, that in the early morning on the day of the murder, he saw Kachura, then 49, and Melnik walking around the construction site. At a certain point, he said, they tried to dig a hole in the ground with shovels.

In response to a question by Judge Galit Zigler – whether he saw them “actually working” the witness replied, “Definitely.” Mouassi said he saw Kachura go to a nearby garbage dump, returning with styrofoam and bamboo. Later these materials were found beneath Melnik’s body.

Seventeen-year-old Lital Yael Melnik Credit: Courtesy of family

According to Mouassi’s testimony, after he noticed Kachura leaving the construction site alone, he went to see what had happened to Melnik. “I kept walking to the scene and saw that her entire body was covered in sand,” he said.

Kachura knew Melnik when she was a patient at Ma’aleh Carmel psychiatric hospital, where he worked as a registered nurse. According to the indictment, he engaged in a sexual relationship with Melnik for several months, and Melnik’s grandmother had a restraining order issued against him in the past.

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