A Bat Yam man was indicted on Monday in the Tel Aviv District Court and charged with the murder of his 75-year-old sister in December 2012.
Police have not found the body of Mazal Jerssi, but they did find blood in what had been her Jaffa apartment — on the walls, the doorpost, a kitchen cabinet, and under the floor tiles.
Police also found a suitcase stuffed with bloody rags in the apartment. Additional blood was found on the coat and mobile phone of Mordechai Jerssi, 70, accused of killing her.
Jerssi denied all charges. He has a record of violence, including 12 previous convictions for violent crimes and making threats.
According to the indictment, DNA testing revealed that all of the blood found at the location belonged to Mazal Jerssi.
Mazal Jerssi was last seen boarding a bus from Jaffa in the direction of Bat Yam on December 24. She was officially declared missing on December 25, and her brother even participated in hanging up flyers that the police had provided, asking for the public’s assistance in finding the missing woman.
Mordechai Jerssi even went as far as to offer a cash reward for knowledge of his sister’s whereabouts On January 31, he was arrested on suspicion of murdering her.
Jerssi’s attorney, Ran Alon, said on Monday that as long as no corpse has been found, Mazal Jerssi is still considered to be missing, not deceased. Alon stressed that his client’s behavior when Mazal was declared missing should indicate his innocence, rather than his guilt.
Police believe that Jerssi’s motive was to inherit his sister’s apartment and to have access to the money she received from social security and had in her bank account.
According to the indictment, after his sister disappeared, Jerssi moved into her apartment, changed the locks, put his own name on the mailbox, registered his new home address through the Interior Ministry, and contacted an attorney in order to request an inheritance order for all of his jointly owned property with Mazal.
The indictment further claims that Jerssi falsified a document to obtain power of attorney over his sister’s social security checks and bank accounts.
According to Ynet, Mordechai Jerssi’s son, who needs constant care, was living with his father’s sister, and she was managing his financial affairs.
Investigators said that Mazal planned to bequeath her property to her nephew, a move which, they claim, angered her brother. As soon as his sister was declared missing, Mordechai attempted to have himself named as his son’s legal guardian.
Filing charges of murder when no body has been found is very rare. Nevertheless, prosecutors are confident that the forensic evidence, combined with circumstantial evidence against Jerssi, provides enough to win a conviction.
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