Primary Suspect Convicted in Abu-Khdeir Murder; Jerusalem Court Rejects Insanity Plea

Yosef Chaim Ben-David well understood what he was doing and was in full control of his actions, Jerusalem court rules.

Yosef Chaim Ben-David, the primary suspect in the murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, is led into a Jerusalem court, Israel, April 19, 2016.
Olivier Fitoussi

The main suspect in the murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir was convicted of murder Tuesday, after a Jerusalem court rejected the defendant’s insanity plea.

Yosef Chaim Ben-David understood what he was doing and was in full control of his actions, the court ruled, adding that it was well within his ability to prevent the crimes from being committed.

The district court convicted Ben-David on charges of murder, kidnapping for the purpose of murder, and battery causing bodily harm.

He will be sentenced in early May.

In November, the Jerusalem District Court convicted Ben-David’s two accomplices, both minors, to murder, but deferred Ben-David’s conviction due to a last-minute psychiatric evaluation where he claimed he was not responsible for his actions at the time of the murder.

Still, the court said at the time there was enough evidence to convict him. The judges said he had “confessed in his interrogations to all the acts attributed to him in the indictment, including kidnapping and murder,” and noted that he had confessed to the police and during pretrial preparations to planning to kidnap and murder an Arab.

The two minors were sentenced  in February: one to life in prison and one to 21 years in prison. Each minor was also forced to pay the Abu Khdeir family 30,000 shekels ($7,700) in compensation.

Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted early on July 2, 2014, from the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood  Shoafat, near his home. He was driven to the Jerusalem Forest, where he was beaten and burned alive by his kidnappers. The state has officially recognized him as a victim of terror.