Doctors' Testimony Weakens Manslaughter Case Against Father

The case against Yisrael Wells, a young hareidi-religious father who was loudly accused of battering his baby son to death several months ago, appears weaker and weaker as the trial rambles on.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 3:37 PM

Ya'ir Shapira, legal affairs columnist for the B'Sheva weekly, writes that the indictment against Wells "has been crumbling over the past few weeks in the Jerusalem District Court room." similarly reports that the Prosecution appears to be headed towards dropping the charges.

The articles were written after it was learned that Wells had been abrupty released from prison several days ago.

Only 19 years old, Wells was arrested shortly before Passover, over four months ago, after bringing his baby son to the hospital with a concussion. Wells told the doctors that the infant hit his head on the wall when he fell from his hands. The doctors decided to keep the baby in the hospital overnight for supervision, but in the morning, they found that his condition had worsened.

The father, who had sat at his son's side the whole night, was called in for several hours of police questioning. Several hours later, the baby died - and the father was charged with manslaughter. He later said that he did not understand the questions, and that his "confession" was not genuine.

The media treated him ruthlessly, with headlines blaring news of the 19-year-old child killer and internet talkbacks reviling him and his community. Now, four months later, the accused has been released from prison - and family members say the Prosecution is apparently looking for ways to drop the charges altogether.

"The main thing that brought about his release [last week]," said his uncle Tzvi Eisenstein, "is the testimony by Dr. Sergei Spector, who said that the baby did not die as a result of the fall, but rather from a lack of oxygen that was not supplied to him in the hospital."

Notably, the defense, led by prominent attorney Avigdor Feldman, has not even begun to present its case.

The surgeon, Dr. Spector, testified that the baby arrived in the hospital in "reasonable" condition, and that his death was caused by medical neglect. An eye doctor in the hospital testified that the chances of the baby having been "shaken [to death]" are much less than the likelihood that he merely banged his head accidentally. Prof. Yehuda Hiss of the Forensic Institute said he found no signs of abuse on the baby - though the investigators violated the law, Shapira writes, "by not presenting his declaration to the prosecution, the defense, or the court."

Both Shapira and Eisenstein surmise that it is likely that when the trial resumes after the courts' summer recess, the Prosecution will request to withdraw the charges against Wells altogether.