Mother Charged with Murdering her Children

Karina Brill, 36, murdered her son, Igor, 7, and her daughter, Mira, 5, with a kitchen knife.

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Gil Ronen,

Court (illustrative)
Court (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Karina Brill, 36, was charged Sunday with murdering her two children, Igor, 7, and Mira, 5, on September 16.

Brill, a recent immigrant from the former Soviet Union, reportedly worked in the International Library in Moscow before immigrating. The children's father, a jazz musician, did not immigrate to Israel with Brill, nor did her parents.

According to the prosecuting attorney, Brill had been violent toward her son in August, leaving a bruise on his neck. The child's counselor in the summer ulpan (Hebrew academy) noticed the bruise, and the boy told her it was inflicted by his mother.

The counselor asked Karina Brill if this was true and she admitted hurting Igor, and asked for help from the social services. Social services began to get  involved in her case but on Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), she apparently tried to commit suicide by cutting her neck with a knife.

During Yom Kippur, Karina Brill and her two children were the guests of a female friend of hers in Jerusalem, whose name is Gali. Brill showed the friend the cut on her neck and said, “Look what I did to myself.” Gali informed the social services in the neighborhood where she lives, Baka-Talpiyot, who coordinated a meeting with her. Brill was upset with Gali, and voiced fear that her children would be taken from her.

Karina returned to her apartment and her sister, Nadia, slept over. She told Nadia that she would not let anyone take her children away from her and that she would hurt them herself.

The next morning, on September 16, she decided to murder her children and commit suicide. She took a large kitchen knife, slit her wrists and went to the room where the children slept in a bunk bed, where she stabbed them and then cut her own throat.

The sister, Nadia, tried to pull the girl, Mira, out of the apartment, but lost her grip on her and wound up getting locked out herself. Karina stabbed her children again. They lost large amounts of blood and succumbed to their wounds.

The prosecution asked to keep Karina in jail until the end of the legal proceedings against her, and said that she “was able to think and understand the results of her deeds.”

Even if Brill is convicted of murder, it is unlikely that the conviction will stand for long. According to a study by Dr. Yoav Mazeh of the Ono Academy, women who have been convicted of murdering their spouses or children in Israel in recent decades have all had the conviction amended to manslaughter by the High Court.

The same rule does not hold true for men convicted of these crimes, says Dr. Mazeh.