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Prosecutors won’t indict partner of woman found dead in Beersheba last month

Roman Shomov, 25, had history of violence toward 18-year-old girlfriend; was charged with assaulting her in separate incident

The door to a Beersheba apartment where an 18-year-old woman was found dead, November 13, 2021. (Screen grab/Ynet)
The door to a Beersheba apartment where an 18-year-old woman was found dead, November 13, 2021. (Screen grab/Ynet)

State prosecutors decided on Thursday not to file an indictment against a Beersheba man for the death of his 18-year-old girlfriend last month.

Roni Shomov, 25, was arrested on suspicion of murder after his girlfriend was found dead in her apartment in the southern city on November 13.

He had been released six months earlier from jail, where he was held for violence toward the victim, and her family told media they thought he had killed her.

Prosecutors said they had decided to forgo the murder charge after examining evidence, including from medical experts.

However, they did decide to indict Shomov for assaulting his former partner in another incident. His detention was extended until Tuesday.

The woman’s mother said she was “very disappointed by the result of the investigation.”

“We’re going to meet as a family and decide how to move forward,” she told Walla news.

The woman’s sister-in-law said police were negligent in their investigation and had not informed the family of progress.

She said investigators had never questioned the woman’s mother, even though she was the only family member who had been in contact with Shomov, and that police were unable to access the woman’s phone and had “just asked the family to try to find the passcode.”

At the time of his arrest, police said Shomov has a criminal past and a “pattern of violent behavior.”

The Ynet news site said at the time of the death that although there were no visible signs of foul play on the victim’s body, police decided to arrest the suspect given his past violent history.

Shomov had called emergency services to report that he had found the young woman unconscious and “surrounded by pills” in the Beersheba apartment, Channel 12 reported.

The victim has not been named. The young woman was said to have recently moved from the coastal city of Netanya to live with Shomov in the south.

An unnamed neighbor told Ynet: “The writing was on the wall. Everyone knew.”

Another neighbor said he heard the two arguing before the woman died.

Activists have long complained that not enough is done to prevent domestic violence in Israel, particularly in cases where the family is known to authorities.

In July, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered NIS 55 million ($17 million) be immediately allotted to efforts to prevent and treat domestic violence.

The money has been earmarked to partially fund the Welfare Ministry’s National Plan for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, which was approved in 2017, but has seen less than half the designated funds transferred for its implementation.

A June report from the state comptroller found that inadequate funding and chaotic policies for identifying and dealing with domestic violence were hampering efforts to curb the issue.

In 2019, five women were allegedly murdered by their partners while last year the figure jumped to 13, the report said. This year, the number of suspected cases is at least 19.

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