TA Man Cleared of Murdering Father by Cutting Off Respirator

A Tel Aviv man was acquitted yesterday of his father's 2002 murder by disconnecting the older man's respirator. The Tel Aviv District Court ruled the central evidence in the case against Yosef Zohar, the testimony of Moshe Zohar's doctor, could not serve as the basis for a conviction and the younger Zohar's alibi that he had been at his own home at the time of his father's death, was not proven false.

Yosef Zohar was charged with his father's murder, allegedly motivated by greed. The indictment charged that Yosef changed his father's will when the elder Zohar suffered from muscular degeneration, transferring NIS 400,000 to himself. According to the charges, Yosef Zohar changed the locks on his father's home and posted guards outside while Moshe Zohar's second wife was abroad.

The Zohar son was charged with being aided by his father's caretaker, Dr. Valentine Tokila - who was also convicted in the murder of his own wife and another woman in his care, cases for which he is already serving two consecutive life sentences. The court ruled yesterday that Tokila's uncorroborated testimony could not serve as the foundation for Zohar's conviction.

Zohar's attorney, Dror Arad Ayalon, told Haaretz yesterday: "We welcome the acquittal, which we felt was inevitable. The ruling is courageous and important. The court found this confession to be false.

There was no need for a five-year trial to reach this result."