The state’s attorney filed charges Wednesday against a taxi driver accused of murdering Afula resident Shelley Dadon in a high profile case.
Yousef Hussein Halifa was arrested on June 16 after over a month of speculation over the nature of the attack. Halifa, 36, admitted he drove Dadon, 20, on May 1 to the Migdal Haemek industrial center, where she was headed to a job interview, and later stabbed her to death.
The motive has yet to be determined, but police and the Shin Bet assess that the killing was likely nationalistically motivated. However, in excerpts of the indictment published by Israeli news source Ma’ariv, there was no mention of motive.
Police have asked the court to keep Halifa in detention through the duration of the trial on the grounds that his previous attempts to cover up the crime are a reasonable cause for concern that he would further attempt to obstruct the proceedings if released.
According to Halifa, after disposing of the body in a parking lot, he threw out Dadon’s cellphone and the weapon and cleaned the bloodstains from his car. After escaping the scene of the crime, Hussein disposed of her wallet near Beit Zarzir.
Excerpts from the indictment state that Dadon realized after she got in the cab with Halifa that something was wrong and called her cousin to tell her that she was afraid. It was apparently after this call that Halifa pulled over into a parking lot, took out a knife and stabbed her repeatedly. Dadon tried to escape and defend herself unsuccessfully.
Halifa stabbed Dadon 17 times, the Ynet news site reported.
Officials initially said they believed the killing was nationalistically motivated, but later walked back the statements, saying only that they were still searching for a motive. Dadon’s parents insisted on June 30 that the attack was nationalistically motivated, and called on the police to publicly declare it as such.
“My daughter’s murder was nationalistically motivated, and I won’t accept anything else,” Yaakov Dadon said of his daughter Shelley during a press conference at the family’s Afula home last week. “[She was] a girl who never hurt anyone, and now the entire family is broken.”
The murder ignited passions in Afula, where a protest calling to stiffen penalties against murderers drew over 2,000 people.