Outrage over deal to drop murder charges for Arab murderer

Family of Israeli woman brutally murdered by Arab boyfriend rips prosecution over deal to charge murderer with manslaughter.

David Rosenberg,

Relatives of Nagar lead march in her memory
Relatives of Nagar lead march in her memory

Relatives of an Israeli woman who was brutally murdered by her Arab boyfriend two years ago were joined by demonstrators outside of a Nazareth court Tuesday morning in a protest against a plea bargain arrangement dropping murder charges against the perpetrator down to manslaughter.

On Tuesday, the court signed off on a plea bargain deal reached between prosecutors and the defendant, 29-year-old Raad Roshrosh, an Israeli Christian Arab from the village of Marar.

As part of the deal, Roshrosh was convicted Tuesday of manslaughter, not murder, for the killing of Roshrosh’s Israeli Jewish girlfriend in December 2016.

The family of the victim, Tehilla Nagar, pleaded with the court not to accept the deal, and protested outside of the court following the manslaughter conviction.

“Don’t accept this deal,” said the victim’s sister, Natalie. “I’m begging you. Every day, women are murdered. You know [Roshrosh] is the murderer. His mother cooperated with him. She washed his clothes, which were covered in the blood of my sister.”

Nagar’s relatives and residents of Kibbutz Ginosar rallied outside of the court after the decision to protect the manslaughter conviction.

Prosecutors responded to criticism of the deal, saying the case's reliance on circumstantial evidence made pursuing a murder conviction difficult.

"This case was based from the beginning on circumstantial evidence," the northern district prosecutor's office said. "There was no direct proof linking the suspect to the crime. There were no witnesses to the incident, and the suspect denied involvement in the victim's death - up until the plea bargain, when he confessed to the updated indictment."

Thirty-one-year-old Kibbutz Ginosar resident Tehilla Nagar’s remains were found in a ditch alongside Route 90 in December 2016. Signs of extreme violence were found on Nagar’s remains, suggesting she had been tortured before being murdered.

While the case was barred from publication for over a month, police forensics teams later revealed that Nagar had been beaten, strangled, and tortured – including having her finger nails torn out – before her killer crushed her head with a large rock.

“He completely smashed her head to pieces, then left her wallowing in her own blood and went back to his home in the village [of Marar],” lead investigator Ofer Austa said in 2017.

Authorities said that Roshrosh murdered Nagar as an act of revenge after Nagar’s relatives reported Roshrosh to police two weeks prior to the murder, over his physical abuse of Nagar.

But after Nagar refused to press charges, police were forced to free Roshrosh, who according to the indictment, then resolved to take ‘revenge’ on Nagar for his arrest.

Despite pleas from her family, Nagar agreed to meet with Roshrosh after he was released from custody. After dining in a Tiberias café, the two drove down Route 90, where Roshrosh eventually committed the murder.