Insanity defense successful
Man who beheaded ex-wife acquitted of murder

For the first time in Israeli history a man was acquitted of murder, pleading insanity, but will spend 25 years in mental facility.

Gary Willig ,

Meir Goldstein
Meir Goldstein
Flash 90

The Nazareth Magistrate Court ruled on Sunday, in a landmark ruling, that a man who beheaded his ex-wife and carried her head across their neighborhood, was not responsible for the murder on grounds of insanity, the Times of Israel reported.

The ruling marked the first time that a defendant in Israel was acquitted of murder on grounds of insanity.

Meir Goldstein was found by police covered in blood and carrying his ex-wife's severed head through the streets of Tiberius last March. Witnesses said that he yelled that he had “killed Amalek”, before throwing the head away in a garbage can. His ex-wife's body was found in her apartment, which had been set on fire.

Goldstein continued to tell investigators that he had "killed Amalek" and claimed to be the messiah after he was arrested. “God called to me and said to me, ‘This is the seed of Amalek and the Prophet Hezekiah did not cut off Amalek’s head and therefore did not earn the right to be the king messiah. Because I have chopped off the head of the seed of Amalek, I am acknowledged as the king messiah,” he said.

The couple had divorced a month before the murder.

Neighbors stated that Goldstein had a history of psychiatric problems. Doctors who examined Goldstein testified that he "could not tell the difference between right and wrong."

The three judge panel ruled that Goldstein was not responsible for his actions and sentenced him to 25 years in a mental institution rather than prison.

However, Goldstein could walk free earlier if in the future psychologists determine that he no longer presents a danger to the public, Haaretz reported.