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New charges filed in retrial of man convicted of 2006 murder of 13-year-old girl

Roman Zadarov indicted for premeditated murder under aggravated circumstances in slaying of Tair Rada; among over a dozen new witnesses is the woman he claims committed the crime

Roman Zadorov, center, seen outside the Shata Prison in northern Israel after being released to house arrest, on August 26, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Roman Zadorov, center, seen outside the Shata Prison in northern Israel after being released to house arrest, on August 26, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Prosecutors filed a fresh murder indictment Sunday against Roman Zadorov who has already served over a decade in prison for the killing of a 13-year-old schoolgirl but is to be retried for the 2006 murder which horrified the nation and has since attracted much attention and claims that he isn’t the real killer.

Zadorov, who was released to house arrest last month, is to be tried again on the basis of new evidence for the murder of Tair Rada, which he maintains he did not commit. A retrial was ordered after a ruling by the Supreme Court in May that there was sufficient reasonable doubt to retry Zadorov.

The new indictment on premeditated murder under aggravated circumstances was filed at the Nazareth District Court. The additional aggravated circumstances charge is because his alleged victim was under the age of 14. He is also accused of obstructing justice.

Prosecutors allege that Zadorov followed Rada to the toilet in the school where he was employed as a maintenance worker, slashed her neck with a craft knife, and then left her lying on a toilet. After locking the cubicle door from the inside with the aim of delaying the discovery of the crime, he climbed out as he “trampled on her with both feet” to reach the top of the walls and made his escape, prosecutors claim.

According to the indictment, the obstruction of justice charge is because Zadorov allegedly washed the knife in the boys’ toilet and wiped away Rada’s blood, then later changed his clothes and continued his day’s work at the school.

Along with the indictment, 13 new prosecution witnesses were added to the 155 who already testified in the original trial. The new witnesses are the result of additional investigation material that came up during the appeal for a retrial and as a result of further investigation that was done.

Among the new witnesses for the retrial is Ola Kravchenko, a woman who Zadorov’s lawyers have claimed was Rada’s true killer.

The State Prosecutor’s Office and the Justice Ministry have previously said that all the evidence against Kravchenko had been thoroughly checked and found to be unreliable.

Zadorov is serving his house arrest in the northern city of Katzrin, at his mother-in-law’s home.

Tair Rada (YouTube screenshot)

Rada was found dead in a bathroom stall in her Katzrin school in the Golan Heights in 2006, with slashes to her neck, stab wounds across her body, and severe blows to her head.

Shortly after the murder, Zadorov was arrested and charged with the killing.

Two weeks after his arrest, police announced Zadorov had confessed to Rada’s murder and reenacted the attack for investigators. But a day later, Zadorov’s defense attorney announced that his client had recanted, claiming his confession and reenactment were coerced and included incorrect information.

In 2010, nearly four years after he was arrested, the Nazareth District Court sentenced him to life in prison.

His lawyers, along with thousands of vocal members of the public, insist that Zadorov was framed for an act he did not commit and that the real murderer was Kravchenko, whose identity was initially gagged by a court order and was referred to as “O.K.”

Following a DNA analysis by investigators, the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute announced in 2018 that a hair found on Rada’s body did not belong to Zadorov, but instead could match that of a former boyfriend of Kravchenko, reigniting speculation over the killing.

In 2019, Zadorov’s attorney Yarom Halevi filed a request for a trial with the Supreme Court, claiming the existence of “a lot of new evidence that proves unequivocally that Zadorov did not murder the deceased and could not have murdered the deceased.”

The Supreme Court previously rejected the former boyfriend’s testimony about Kravchenko, while police concluded that his version was unreliable and an attempt to frame his former lover, the Ynet news site reported in 2018.

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