Court charges man in brutal murder of wife in northern Israel

Court charges man in brutal murder of wife in northern Israel

Indictment describes pattern of violent abuse, says 30-year-old Maxim Tal stabbed wife Maria to death in jealous rage over suspected affair

Undated photo of Maria Tal. (courtesy)
Undated photo of Maria Tal. (courtesy)

The Haifa District Court on Monday charged a man with the brutal stabbing murder of his wife nearly a month ago in their Kiryat Bialik home.

The district attorney charged 30-year-old Maxim Tal with aggravated murder, aggravated assault and the attempted destruction of evidence.

The indictment comes after a month-long investigation into the murder of his wife Maria, whose body was found in their bed.

According to the indictment, Tal had a history of abusing his wife, which intensified in recent months over his suspicions that she was having an affair.

The charge sheet said that since August, Tal confronted his wife with the accusation on several occasions, which she vehemently denied.

Maxim Tal arrives at the Haifa District Court on November 18, 2019. (screen capture: Ynet)

On September 6, he violently attacked Maria in a jealous rage, sending her to the hospital with a broken nose, facial injuries and lacerations to the upper body. Tal was arrested and jailed following the assault, but was released three days later.

The judge who released him barred him from contacting his wife, or visiting their home in Kiryat Bialik for 30 days.

Despite the court order, Tal stayed in contact with his wife over the phone, and a month later, she allowed him to move back home.

In the early morning of October 11, three days after he moved back, the indictment said that Tal discovered a WhatsApp chat exchange between his wife and another person on a secret cellphone that his wife kept hidden under her pillow.

The court said Maxim felt vindicated that his wife was was cheating on him, and decided to murder her.

According to the indictment, the next morning, he told his wife to sleep late while he took their daughters to kindergarten. Tal then called his boss and told him he was not feeling well and would not be able to come to work that day. He returned home shortly before 8 a.m. and slit her throat with a kitchen knife as she slept in their bed.

Maria and Maxim Tal on their wedding day. (courtesy)

Afterward, he called police and told them his wife had committed suicide because she was distraught that her affair had been discovered.

According to reports, prosecutors asked the court during Monday’s hearing that Tal remain in police custody until the trial is over.

The Ynet news site said prosecutors told the court at Monday’s hearing that it was impossible that Maria had committed suicide, saying her fingerprints were not found on the knife, but her husband’s were “in a manner consistent with a stabbing grip.”

They also said his claims that his wife killed herself because her affair was exposed was dubious, arguing that the timeline of when he claimed to have discovered her infidelity and her death “don’t line up.” Ynet said both sets of grandparents are fighting for custody of Maxim and Maria’s two young daughters, and that a family court judge will hear that case in the coming month.

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