Mother and Grandfather Found Guilty of Murdering 4-year-old Rose Pizem

Petah Tikva court convicts Rose's grandfather Ronny Ron of first-degree murder, mother Marie-Charlotte Renault, with whom he was involved at the time, with soliciting the murder; Rose's body was found in Tel Aviv's Yarkon river in 2008.

The Petah Tikva District Court on Thursday convicted a French woman and her lover, the father of her ex-husband, of killing her 4-year-old daughter Rose Pizem, whose body was found in September 2008 in the Yarkon River.

Ronny Ron, Rose's grandfather, was convicted of first-degree murder, while Marie-Charlotte Renault, the girl's mother, was convicted of soliciting the murder. Prosecution lawyers have requested both Ron and Renault receive life sentences.

Rony Ron Marie-Charlotte Renault
Nir Keidar

The court scheduled the sentencing to May 30.

Ronny Ron's son, Benjamin Pizem, fathered Rose in 2004 with Renault in Paris, and he and his then-partner traveled to Israel when their daughter was one-year-old. This was the first time Pizem met his father and the first encounter Renault had with Ron as well.

The three spent several months in Israel. At the end, Renault told Pizem that she would not return to France with him, because she had fallen in love with Ron.

Although Pizem initially took Rose back with him to France, he had trouble raising her, periodically handing her over to the welfare authorities. After a lengthy custody battle Rose moved in with Renault and Ron, but due to the neglect and abuse she had endured, suffered from language and behavioral problems. She would often bang her head against the wall and was not toilet trained.

Ron confessed to the murder shortly after it happened in 2009, leading police to the spot in Tel Aviv where he said he tossed the body into the river.

Ron made his confessions during a taped reconstruction of Rose's murder, which was played earlier this year at the Petah Tikva District Court.

On the tape, Ron described how Rose repeated the word "disgusting" over and over again when he gave her a wafer to eat after picking her up from his mother's house.

"I told her 'arret', French for stop," Ron said on the tape. "And then... I gave her a flick, quite hard, it struck her in the face. I didn't feel good, I understood that she was sad, angry," Ron said.

Ron said he continued to wander with Rose, wanted to buy her ice cream. A little while later, he stopped her and held her up.

Authorities say Ron killed the girl in a fit of rage, stuffed her body into a suitcase and threw it into the Tel Aviv river, where it was recovered.

"I told her: 'Don't cry, don't be insulted, father loves you'... I hugged her tight. 'Father loves you', pardon, 'I love you'."

"Oh, oh, what I wouldn't give to have not delivered that slap to my baby. To give a slap to a child, God help me, even if God forgives me and society forgives me I cannot forgive myself... I ended her life and I ended my life in a split second without thinking," Ron said.

When asked by an investigator if he had thought of calling the police or a hospital, Ron said that he had not, and added, "I was frightened by what happened, frightened out of my mind."

The tape then continued with Ron's description of his suicidal thoughts following the murder.

He and Renault wept when the tape was finished, as did many others in the courtroom.