An Israeli man at the center of an alleged assassination plot hatched by his ex-wife, who lives in the US, said he was afraid for his life despite the fact that his former spouse has been arrested and the details of her plan had been made public.
“I am still scared,” Shahar Abecassis told Israeli TV Friday, days after it was revealed that his ex-wife Danielle Dana Layman, 37, while posing as a Mossad agent allegedly tried to hire an assassin to kill him.
“She is crazy and I don’t know what she’s capable of doing,” said Abecassis, a taxi driver from Ashdod, seated next to his second ex-wife, Limor.
Abecassis and Layman have been locked in a custody battle for their daughter, a teenager who lives with her mother in the US and who was adopted by the mother’s second husband with whom she has more children.
According to reports in US media this week, Layman, who lives in Oklahoma, had put out a Craigslist ad calling for an amateur actor interested in a “10-day gig overseas” and promising “competitive pay.”
Tinsley Keefe said she answered the ad in May, arranging to meet Layman at a cafe where she was asked to travel to Israel to kill a man who works as a taxi driver in Tel Aviv, but who Layman claimed was actually a member of the Islamic State terror group.
Layman, posing as a Mossad operative, did not tell her that the man was her ex-husband. Layman said she would provide Keefe with ricin, one of the deadliest known toxins, and showed her a step-by-step PowerPoint presentation of the plan.
Keefe, speaking to Channel 10 Friday, said Layman “had it all planned out” and had “done her homework.”
In an interview with Channel 10, Abecassis claimed that Layman had managed, through contacts in the Interior Ministry, to have his daughter removed from his government-issued ID card, which means that she was no longer registered as his child in Interior Ministry files.
A Channel 10 inquiry into the matter revealed that indeed the girl had once been registered as his daughter and was no longer listed as such. The ministry said the matter was being investigated.
In addition to the odd disappearance of the child from the registries, Abecassis said he was puzzled regarding the ease with which Layman’s current husband, Jeremy Layman, was allowed to adopt the daughter without the consent of the biological father.
An aunt of Layman’s reached in Israel said she was “in shock” over the affair and didn’t know what to think, suggesting she may have “gone crazy” following the birth of her youngest child.
But the aunt also said Abecassis had sued for custody to try to obtain money from his ex-wife, allegedly telling her that if she gave him $300,000, he would withdraw the claim.
Abecassis claimed his daughter had been “brainwashed” by her mother all these years and his wife said they had indeed submitted a monetary claim over the alleged “kidnapping” of the girl who had moved with her mother abroad when she was six years old. Limor Abecassis said her ex-husband was willing to withdraw the suit in exchange for having contact with his daughter, which Layman refused, according to the allegations.
The assassination plan came to light after Keefe went straight to the FBI following her meeting with Layman in May.
She said Layman told her she wanted an American tourist for the hit because the Israeli authorities would be less suspicious and offered her $1,000 in travel expenses and a payment of $4,000 upon completing the job.
Agents arrested Layman and raided her home in Ponca City, finding dozens of castor beans (used to produce ricin), a mortar and pestle, and instructions printed out from the internet on how to make the poison.
Abecassis said he was grateful to Keefe for immediately contacting authorities and thanked her for “saving my life.”
“We thank her and we would very much want to meet her,” said a visibly moved Abecassis during his Channel 10 interview.
Layman made headlines in Israel in 2014 when she visited the country with her daughter and her ex-husband filed court documents to prevent the daughter from leaving. The husband was identified as Shahar Abecassis. At the time Layman said she would “raise hell” to bring her daughter home. She even started a GoFundMe campaign to support her effort. The daughter eventually did return to the US.
Layman is being held in Logan County Jail outside Oklahoma City.