Valentine Schwartzeh, a German citizen, was sentenced Sunday to life behind bars for the brutal murder of 62-year-old Rachel Jano in Tel Aviv in 2011, and the attempt to cover up the crime.
Schwartzeh was given an additional five years in prison for theft and arson and ordered to pay more than NIS 1 million ($268,000) in compensation to Jano’s family.
Schwartzeh first arrived in Israel in 2009 on a tourist visa and took on the false name of David Schwartz. He began taking odd jobs in people’s homes, including in that of Jano, a florist.
On a fateful day in 2011, Jano caught Schwartzeh stealing NIS 4,800 from her apartment. When Jano threatened to call the police, Schwartzeh beat her, strangled her, and stabbed her in the chest.
He then set the apartment on fire to try to cover up the crime while he made an attempt to flee to the United States. However, he was apprehended before he managed to escape and brought to trial.
Schwartzeh has a history of criminal activity and previous convictions. Although at one time he associated with neo-Nazis, he later discovered that he is Jewish, which led him to travel to Israel.