A man accused of stabbing a Kiryat Yam taxi driver to death in 2007 escaped Tuesday from the Sha’ar Menashe Psychiatric Hospital, where he has been detained ever since he was determined to be unfit to stand trial.
Police conducted a wide-range search for Arnold Izrailov in the Pardes Hanna-Karkur area, where the hospital is located, and questioned two of his relatives.
Sources in the force told Channel 10 that Izrailov is considered dangerous, but the convict’s attorney, Tomer Naveh, said he posed no threat to the public.
In November 2007, Izrailov stabbed 41-year-old taxi driver Imad Khoury in the chest, near a taxi station in Kiryat Yam. Izrailov fled the crime scene, but Khoury managed to provide a passerby with a description of the perpetrator shortly before dying of his wounds.
The knife-wielding Izrailov was arrested a short while later, his clothes still drenched in blood. Shortly after the murder, Izrailov told reporters that he murdered the taxi driver because he heard voices commanding him to kill Arabs.
After an indictment was filed against him with the Haifa District Court, Izrailov was deemed mentally unstable and the judge ruled him unfit to stand trial.
Khoury’s attorney said the minimum security around Izrailov allowed him to escape with ease.
“Given the gravity of his acts, he should be under maximum surveillance, which is very close to prison conditions,” Eli Saban told Ynet news.
Izrailov had been denied furlough several times, partially because of requests by Khoury’s family to keep him locked up.
Naveh told Ynet that his escaped client had recently expressed anger at his victim’s family for continuously undermining his chances of receiving furlough. Naveh added that his client had not contacted him over the last couple of days.