Shelly Dadon Family Member Attacks Suspect's Dad

Tension boils over as relatives of Shelly Dadon furious over retracted confession, defense allegation she was murdered by her father.

Tags: Shelly Dadon
Ari Soffer ,

Family of Shelly Dadon attend a court hearing
Family of Shelly Dadon attend a court hearing
Hagai Aharon/Flash 90

Violence broke out at Sunday morning's court session in the trial of the suspected murderer of 20-year-old Israeli woman Shelly Dadon, after one of the victim's relatives attacked the father of the accused, Hussein Yousef Khalifa.

Police say Khalifa stabbed Dadon 17 times in a vicious, nationalistically-motivated assault not long after she got into a taxi he was driving.

This morning's session at Nazareth District Court was expected to be highly-charged, coming after Khalifa suddenly retracted his previous confession to police, claiming it was made under duress. The 34-year-old taxi driver from the Arab village of Iblin in the Galilee had previously admitted to murdering Dadon, and had even returned to the scene of the crime to reenact the murder for investigators.

Before the judges entered the court Sunday morning an altercation broke out between some of Dadon's family members and the prime suspect's father, according to witnesses. One family member attempted to hit him and security personnel were forced to break up the scuffle, as other relatives hurled curses at the father and son.

"You raised a murderer - he should rot in jail!" shouted some, while others accused the defense of "making a mockery of the court."

"It's not enough that he murdered, now he is making a mockery of the court and his defense council is coaching him to lie!" one person was heard shouting, according to Walla!

The father was escorted out of the courtroom and given first aid treatment by Magen David Adom paramedics.

Asaf Sarid, a cousin of Shelly Dadon, called Khalifa "The scum of the earth - he should sit a life sentence for each stabbing."

"He stabbed Shelly 17 times!" Sarid continued.

He and others are incensed at the defense's sudden new strategy - charging that Dadon was in fact murdered by her own father.

Murder suspect: Hussein Yousef Khalifa Gil Eliyahu/Flash 90

"This is pure insolence and a disgrace to our legal process," he fired. 

For his part, Shelly's father Ya'akov began the proceedings by describing his emotions.

"The feeling is very difficult, this brings me back. I hope that justice will be done."

"It is important for me to be here, to see that he will receive the punishment that is due to him and not think that her family are sitting on the sidelines," he said of Khalifa, and added that Shelly's family would attend all the hearings and urge the court to impose the maximum penalty if the suspect is fond guilty.

"If there is no death penalty, he needs to sit behind bars for his entire life."

Prosecutors Sunday are expected to share key evidence against Khalifa, including a recording of the emergency call made by Dadon to her cousin before her death and witness testimony from Dadon's father and cousin. 

Murdered: Shelly Dadon Courtesy of the family

Police found Dadon's body in an abandoned Migdal Haemek parking lot on May 1. 

Dadon had no criminal record, and had been on her way to a job interview but but had not made contact with her family for several hours. Her family claim she tried to make contact, saying she was being strangled. When they found out that she had never shown up for the interview, they contacted police. Her body was found a short time later by patrolmen.

Details of the murder indicate a gruesome and premeditated attack on Dadon. The indictment states that Khalifa "showed no mercy" on the 20-year old, whom he stabbed dozens of times for "nationalistic motivations."