After manhunt, noted guitarist arrested for killing wife

After manhunt, noted guitarist arrested for killing wife

Ilan Ben Ami, suspected of murdering Dafna Bar Zion, dodged police for three days before he was nabbed in Tel Aviv

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Ilan Ben Ami (photo credit: screen capture YouTube)
Ilan Ben Ami (photo credit: screen capture YouTube)

Accomplished musician Ilan Ben Ami was arrested Sunday three days after his wife, musician and restaurateur Dafna Bar Zion, was found dead at Ben Ami’s south Tel Aviv apartment.

Ben Ami was apprehended at 7 p.m. on Frug Street in Tel Aviv.

Police began closing in on Ben Ami on Sunday morning, when they reached a 10th-floor apartment in the Yoo luxury tower complex in north Tel Aviv in which he had been hiding. Handwritten lines of a Nathan Alterman poem left on the walls of the apartment confirmed to police that he had, indeed, been there.

Ben Ami was then spotted by a customer at 4 p.m. Sunday at his favorite hummus eatery on Dizengoff Street. Police then received a tip from someone who saw him on the street.

Tel Aviv policemen who caught Ben Ami said he told them, “I know why you came.”

Bar Zion was found dead Thursday evening. Police found the murder weapon, a hammer, in a closet in the apartment. They also found Ben Ami’s notebook, in which he detailed his drinking problems, the sedatives he was taking, and his trip to a soothsayer.

The two married two years ago, and separated earlier this year.

Ben Ami took Bar Zion’s cell phone and left it near the Ramat Gan Safari, in an attempt to throw police off his trail. On Friday evening, police burst into the apartment of Shlomo Bar, the leader of Habreira Hativit, the band in which Ben Ami played guitar, on suspicion that he was hiding the suspect.

By Saturday night, investigators were looking into the possibility that Ben Ami had committed suicide, but on Sunday, they received information from guards at the construction site that a mattress was found there.

Ben Ami’s lawyer, Kobi Ben Shaya, said that his client was in a difficult mental state. “It looks like his life is in danger. The story is not simple, and things will be clarified.”

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