Negev Farmer Who Killed Burglar Will Not Be Tried for Murder

Shai Dromi charged with manslaughter, illegal weapon possession, and assault with intent to harm.

Negev farmer Shai Dromi, 47, who shot and killed an alleged sheep thief, will not stand trial for murder. Instead, Dromi was charged Monday with manslaughter, illegal possession of weapons, and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The decision not to try Dromi for murder was received with satisfaction by Dromi's lawyer, attorney Benny Nahari. However, the penal code does allow for Dromi to receive a heavy punishment - up to 20 years for manslaughter and up to 20 years for intentionally causing bodily harm.

According to the indictment, the defendant heard his dog barking, looked around and searched for a flashlight. When he did not find anything, he returned to his room and took an unlicensed loaded gun. His suspicion further grew when he spotted scissors on the fence sheep pen, and so he hid behind a nearby shed. At that time two thieves, Khaled al-Atrash and Ayoub al-Hawashleh, were wandering around the farm area.

Dromi shot towards the two, and they started to flee. Dromi nonetheless continued to shoot, firing 6 bullets. Al-Atrash was hurt in his femoral artery, and later died of his wounds. Al-Hawashleh was shot three times in his back, and is now in intensive care.

Following the indictment, police will ask for Dromi's remand to be extended. Dromi's lawyer said that the trial "will turn into a showcase trial."

Dromi maintains that he called for the thieves to stop, but Al-Hawashleh told Haaretz that there was no call to stop before the shooting. "We went near the farm area, and all of the sudden, someone jumped and started shooting at us." Al-Hawashleh says that "Khaled [the victim] fell and told me to get down, so I would not get hurt, but I fled." He maintains that after they were shot, they were dragged into the farm, but could not say who dragged them into there.