The Lod District Court on Sunday handed down two life sentences to a father who killed his two children by slitting their throats to spite his ex-wife.
Avi Levi, 43, was convicted two weeks ago of murdering his 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter while they were visiting him from their mother’s home in the US in 2014. He will serve the sentences back-to-back and was also ordered to pay NIS 500,000 to his ex-wife.
Levi, from Yashresh, an agricultural community near Ramle, killed the children in order to exact revenge on his former wife for divorcing him, the court found.
He was convicted two weeks ago after the court rejected a defense claim that he was unfit to stand trial, and ruled the murders were premeditated.
The trial revealed that Levi blindfolded his 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter on June 11, 2014, and then slit their throats with a knife he had purchased a day earlier.
Afterward, Levi walked into the police station in the nearby city of Ramle and admitted that he had killed the kids, reportedly to torment his ex-wife, saying he did it “so that their mother’s life would be over.”
Before sentencing Oren Aduhan, a childhood friend of Levi’s, told the court that the father gave his all for the children, Channel 2 reported.
“No one would believe that Avi would to something like this, but it happened. Only Avi knows what brought him to that point when he did what he did, but the regret is the most important thing,” Aduhan said.
His family and his defense attorney had claimed that being so far from his children and the fact that his ex-wife occasionally failed to send the children on twice-yearly visits to Israel as agreed had left him showing signs of depression.
However, he refused to be tested by a psychiatrist, the report said.
The mother and the children were dual US-Israeli citizens. The two children arrived for a visit in Israel a day before they were killed.
The children’s funeral took place in Columbus, Ohio, where the mother resides.
Domestic violence complaints were lodged against Levi in 2005 and in 2009, before the couple divorced. The wife had also spent time in a battered women’s shelter before the divorce was finalized.
The ex-wife gained main custody of the children and, because the husband could not provide child support, decided to move to the US. The suspect was unsuccessful in fighting his ex-wife’s intention to leave the country but succeeded in securing twice-yearly visits.
While searching the man’s residence, police discovered a journal in which the suspect had “obsessively” recorded his feelings and actions, especially in regard to his ex-wife.