Police on Sunday said they cracked the murder of a man in Petah Tikva last month, naming the prime suspect as a resident of Rishon Lezion.
Prosecutors said Osher Agasi, 23, will be indicted in the coming days for the murder of Shalev Korostishevsky, 50.
Police disclosed details from the ongoing investigation during a court hearing Sunday, 24 days after Agasi was arrested, with the leading investigator describing the killing as “cruel” and “despicable.”
On December 30, police were dispatched to an apartment building in Petah Tikva, where residents reported several suspicious fires.
Upon arriving, officers noticed a fire raging near the building’s entrance, where Korostishevsky’s body was found wrapped in a blanket. The victim’s apartment was also set on fire.
Police narrowed their list of suspects to Agasi, who was a previous acquaintance of Korostishevsky, after examining footage from security cameras in the area, gathering testimonies from neighbors and collecting forensic evidence from the scene.
The police investigation found Agasi once borrowed money from Korostishevsky when they lived in the same building. Police suspect Korostishevsky demanded the money, leading Agasi to confront him in his apartment and eventually kill him.
Police said Agasi’s following actions were unusually cruel.
According to the investigation, Agasi stabbed Korostishevsky more than 70 times over the span of four hours. He then allegedly asked neighbors for plastic bags and bleach, planning to clean up the scene, but, after realizing he would be unable to do so, set the victim’s body and apartment on fire to obscure the evidence.
Agasi was spotted with his wife at a restaurant just hours after the incident, according to police inspector Viki Atia. The wife was initially arrested on suspicion of attempting to obstruct the investigation, but was released shortly after under restrictive conditions.
Police later found traces of Korostishevsky’s blood on Agasi’s motorcycle helmet. The victim’s cell phone was also found in Agasi’s possession.
“We were shocked by this murder,” Atia said in a video released by the Israel Police. “Every murder is difficult, but in this case, it was an especially cruel murder that lasted four hours, while the suspect repeatedly leaves the scene and then returns. A despicable and harsh incident.”
Agasi served time in jail for arson in the past, according to a report by the Ynet news site. The report also said that Korostishevsky had filed several complaints against Agasi before their fatal encounter on December 30. Police said they would look into how those complaints were handled and whether more could have been done to prevent the incident.
Agasi has denied the allegations against him. His appointed public defender, attorney Dima Bernstein, said his client was cooperating with the investigation.
“We are hopeful that in the next few days, we’ll receive objective findings from the scene and the situation will be clarified,” he said.