Convicted murderer and bank robber Gabi Korsonsky, 35, received a sentence of life in prison plus 18 years at his sentencing Thursday in the Lod District Court.
He is also ordered to pay NIS 258,000 ($72,000) in damages to the family of his victim, bank security guard Yaniv Engler.
Korsonsky murdered Engler when the guard tried to stop him from entering and robbing a Bank Hapoalim branch in Be’er Yaakov, near the central city of Lod, on August 15, 2011.
Korsonsky was convicted in October 2017 of Engler’s murder, as well as 14 bank robberies and several more minor charges, including illegal firearm possession and opening fire in a residence.
The sentence amounts to the maximum allowed under the law.
In their sentencing, the judges wrote: “The defendant committed a cruel murder, taking the life of a young man who tried to do his duty towards the customers and employees of the bank. As if that were not enough, after causing the senseless death of Yaniv Engler, the defendant calmly went on with his plan, robbing the bank for sheer greed.”
In all, Korsonsky stole some NIS 900,000 ($252,000) during his spree of robberies, according to investigators. He was finally captured by police after a bank robbery in Ness Ziona in December 2012.
In sentencing Korsonsky, the court said it was taking the Engler family’s suffering into account, including “the emotional trauma caused to the parents of the deceased, who lost the most precious thing of all, and the inability of the parents and sister of the deceased to come to terms with their grief even now.”
The judges offered words of support to Engler’s family. “The family of the deceased were present during most of the hearings in the trial, and it is our hope that the conviction of the defendant will help in their rehabilitation and be an impetus for them to seek out the care that they require.”
After the sentence was read out in the courtroom Thursday, members of the Engler family shouted at Korsonsky, “You dog, may God take you,” according to an account on the Ynet news site.
Engler’s father Asher told reporters after the sentencing, “This kind of animal deserves the death penalty, but there isn’t one so he got the maximum. We miss Yaniv every holiday. Every Friday we go to the cemetery. That’s our life these past seven years, life with a wounded heart. Yaniv was a good son, served in the armored corps, was decorated… He was thinking of leaving security work when the incident happened.”
Korsonsky insisted he was innocent of all crimes except two bank robberies, and his attorney vowed to appeal the conviction and sentence.