Abu Khder murder: 2 convicted, leader evaluated

Two minors convicted of murder, 29-year-old who led the brutal murder sent for psychiatric evaluation before conviction.

Shlomo Pyotrkovsky,

Yosef Haim Ben-David
Yosef Haim Ben-David
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The Jerusalem District Court on Monday issued a ruling on the gruesome murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder that took place on July 2, 2014.

Abu Khder was abducted and burned to death by 29-year-old Yosef Haim Ben-David and two 17-year-old accomplices.

The two minor accomplices were convicted on murder charges by the court Monday, while Ben-David has not yet been convicted, having been sent for psychiatric evaluation. Only after the evaluation will the ruling against him be determined.

Ben-David has a history of mental illness, and was arrested two years before the murder on suspicion he tried to strangle his own infant daughter. He had been on psychiatric treatment ever since.

Shortly after being arrested the three admitted to the crime and reenacted how they bludgeoned and then burned the Arab youth to death in the Jerusalem Forest.

They said the murder was an act of "revenge" for the murders of Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19), who were abducted by Hamas terrorists on June 12 and murdered shortly after.

After the confession the three were given a full trial, during which the two minors claimed that Ben-David was responsible for the murder. In response, Ben-David's attorney argued that he was not mentally fit to stand trial.

According to the indictment, the three first unsuccessfully tried to abduct an Arab infant from its mother's arms, then tried to set an Arab car on fire, and the following day abducted and murdered Abu Khder. The youth was strangled and hit in the head, and then burned to death while unconscious.