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Man charged with slaying grandfather for trying to stop him from killing a cat

Suspect said to have history of mental illness and animal abuse; not yet determined if he is fit to stand trial

The scene where a 21-year-old man allegedly murdered his grandfather who tried to stop him killing a cat in the city of Rosh Ha'ayin, 16 October 2020 (Screen grab/Ynet)
The scene where a 21-year-old man allegedly murdered his grandfather who tried to stop him killing a cat in the city of Rosh Ha'ayin, 16 October 2020 (Screen grab/Ynet)

A 21-year-man from the central city of Rosh Ha’ayin was charged Thursday with murdering his grandfather last month when he tried to stop him from killing a cat.

The suspect, Raphael Yonah, was apparently known to the authorities due to issues with mental illness and had a history of abusing animals.

The defendant has not yet undergone a comprehensive psychiatric examination in order to determine that he is fit to stand trial, the Ynet news site reported.

According to the indictment, Yonah planned to kill the cat and eat it, and set up a phone to video himself drowning the feline.

Illustrative — A police car parked in Petah Tikva, August 4, 2017 (Roy Alima/Flash90)

He found a street cat and put it in a cooler of water, placing the lid on top of the vessel and holding it down while the cat tried to escape.

The man’s grandfather, 73-year-old Mordechai Ben-Nun, found his grandson committing the act and tried to stop him. There was a struggle and the cat went free, at which point the older man yelled to his wife that she should call the police to report the abuse.

According to the Walla news site, at this point Yonah started to smash things.

Yonah’s grandmother called the police and his grandfather started to leave the house to get assistance.

“Seeing this, the defendant made the decision to kill his grandfather with a knife. He went to the kitchen of the house and took a knife with a serrated blade with a pointed tip, 11.5 centimeters (4.5 inches) long. He went out on the balcony holding the knife and spoke to his grandmother who was talking to the police, saying ‘No, do not call, everything is fine,'” the indictment read.

“The defendant ran to his grandfather and stabbed him in the forehead with one stab, until the knife broke, with the intention of causing his death,” the charges said. “As a result of the stabbing, the grandfather collapsed on the path and lay down covered in blood, while the defendant shouted ‘Allah Akbar,’ ‘You will die’ and ‘I want to murder him.’ He even recorded his actions using the phone that fell from his grandmother’s hands.”

The older man was taken in serious condition to Beilinson Hospital, where he later died.

According to reports, much of the attack was recorded on security cameras or cellphones.

“A reading of the indictment reveals the complex circumstances of the tragic case. This is a young man who is on the autism spectrum and is dealing with developmental delays. In addition he had to deal with extremely difficult life circumstances,” Guy Ein Zvi, the public defender representing the grandson, told Ynet.

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