Several months after declaring the Barnoar shooting case solved, police may be forced to release their main suspect, Israel Hayom reports.
New evidence has reportedly come to light regarding the state’s main witness in the case. The witness has been arrested, and may be charged with interfering with an investigation. Details of the suspicions against him have not been made public.
In 2009 a shooter opened fire at the Barnoar, a Tel Aviv bar and club for homosexual youths, during a support group meeting. The shooting left Nir Katz and Liz Trubishi dead and 10 others wounded; two were left with permanent handicaps.
In 2013, police announced the arrest of Hagai Felician, 23. Felician was accused of carrying out the attack in revenge for a well-known gay activist’s sexual assault of his teenage relative.
Felician admitted to attempting to blackmail the activist, but denied involvement in the shooting.
Police say Felician later admitted to the shooting in a conversation with two officers disguised as fellow prisoners, and that after he discovered their identity, he told a police commander, “You have everything on me, you solved the case. Pat yourselves on the back.”
However, in a conversation with his attorney aired by Channel 2 on Wednesday, Felician said he had always protested his innocence. “The whole time I said it was lies, slander. They killed me and my family,” he accused.
Felician's attorney, Yogev Narkis, said he expects his client to be released in the near future. "I have no idea who committed the murder, but it definitely wasn't Hagai Felician," he told IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal).
Meanwhile attorney Yair Regev, who is representing the state's witness, accused police of turning on his client in order to cover up their own failures.
"The prosecution and the police are afraid [Felician] will be completely exonerated in court, and then people will be telling them, 'You're so stupid,'" he told IDF Radio. "They're punishing the state's witness for the prosecution's failure."
Leading gay activists expressed fear and frustration. “The thought that it could be that we don’t know who the murderer was, that the mystery is still unsolved, is unbearable,” Shai Deutsch, chairman of the Israeli National Association for LGBT, told Israel Hayom.
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) urged patience. “Premature proclamations are what put us in this situation… I suggest we let the police completely finish its investigation, and not jump to conclusions,” he said.