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Man acquitted of murder during fight over parking spot, convicted of manslaughter

Orel Zavit shot Yuri Podovni to death in 2019; family of deceased decry ruling as ‘a disgrace’

Orel Zavit, accused of the murder of Yuri Podovni in Holon on February 14, 2019, is seen as he arrives for a court hearing at the Tel Aviv District court on March 7, 2019. (Flash90)
Orel Zavit, accused of the murder of Yuri Podovni in Holon on February 14, 2019, is seen as he arrives for a court hearing at the Tel Aviv District court on March 7, 2019. (Flash90)

The Tel Aviv District Court acquitted Orel Zavit, 26, of murdering a man he shot dead during a dispute over a parking spot in 2019, finding him guilty on Sunday of manslaughter instead.

The family of the victim, Yuri Podovni 43, denounced the ruling as “a disgrace.”

Zavit was also acquitted of attempted murder, but found guilty of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm.

Judge Raanan Ben-Yosef, who led the panel of three judges, said that while “there is no dispute that the defendant caused [Podovni’s] death” there remained a dispute as to whether or not “when he pulled the trigger his intention was murder.”

Judges said that security camera footage showed “clearly and exactly” what transpired and was, therefore, more trustworthy than eyewitnesses.

“A violent brawl” erupted between those involved, in which “the deceased approached the accused’s family members in an aggressive manner and the accused pulled out his gun and fired.”

Zavit continued to beat Podovni even after shooting him.

Police inspect the scene where a man was shot and killed in Holon, on February 14, 2019. (Flash90)

Zavit was charged with manslaughter before a 2019 reform removed the crime from homicide laws, which currently have five degrees, ranging from negligent homicide to aggravated murder.

Prosecutors had sought the second highest level, that of murder, while the defense sought a conviction of negligent homicide.

At the trial, Zavit claimed he thought his family members were in mortal danger..

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